Food and Carceral Politics

I am increasingly interested in the intersections between food and carceral politics.

First, I am investigating prison hunger strikes. I am curious as to what drives this tactic, the response of authorities, and its efficacy in meeting prisoner demands. I am working with a graduate student to develop a database of all newspaper coverage of hunger strikes in the United States between 1971 (year of Attica Prison uprising) to 2018. We will then trace patterns in coverage as well as trends/anomalies in the use of hunger strikes.

Second, I am studying the breadth and practice of gardening and farming in the US penal system. This includes creating the first-ever complete list of federal, state, and county correctional facilities run by government entities with gardening and farming activities. I am also designing two surveys with corrections officials and incarcerated participants involved in such activities to understand how farming and gardening intersect with different notions and practices of justice in the context of mass incarceration. This survey will provide the basis for strategically sampling a set of initiatives to conduct an in-depth comparative case study.

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