Carceral Repurposing: Redesigning a Prison Town, and ‘Flipping a Prison’ into Townhouses

Fascinating piece by Anna Clark on the reuse and repurposing of prisons, and the shaping of identities of US prison towns faced with the possible closure of facilities.

“How do you detach a community from its dependency on the prison economy, without doing undue harm to local citizens? Is it even possible to wholly extract these forbidding fortresses from their intended purpose? After all, they were designed to be a place that nobody wants to be in. Puzzling out a way to find a new use, especially in rural areas and small towns, is a critical challenge for 21st-century planners.”

At the same time, The Navy Greene development in Brooklyn, New York, sees a 104,600-square-foot property on the site of a former federal prison, now being sold as high-end private residences. Even though the original prison building is gone, media coverage highlights the carceral past of the site, apparently as a selling point: “Former Prison Cells in Brooklyn Flipped Into $2 Million Townhouses. What a difference 20 years and a yuppie takeover can make.”

Thought-provoking articles for carceral geographers interested in the post-prison, and in the different post-functional existences possible for former prisons, or their sites.

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