Yes, In My Backyard is a web-based clearinghouse of information on closing and reusing prisons in the United States. We provide facts, opinions and ideas about what happens when prisons close and how the empty buildings and surrounding property can be re-purposed in ways that benefit communities. The Project reports on prison and jail closures and reuse in urban, suburban and rural areas and is particularly concerned with the challenges of closing and reusing prisons in economically struggling rural places.
Between 2011 and June 2014, twenty-five states closed 42,555 prison beds, representing a total of 89 correctional facilities. Crime and prison populations have decreased in several states and a new national consensus has emerged regarding the need to reduce state spending on incarceration. Many states are abandoning the use of congregate institutions for most youth in trouble in favor of non-residential community-based supervision and treatment and small group facilities closer to the youths’ communities of origin.
There is currently no central hub for information on how states are closing correctional facilities and what has been done or can be done with them when they are closed. This project aims to fill that gap in order to assist government, business and communities to develop policies and practices for closing and re-purposing prisons that will benefit all stakeholders.
We will be soliciting contributions from selected experts in the fields of public policy, economic development, real estate law, architecture, criminal justice, planning, and governance among others.
We also want and look forward to contributions from visitors to the website. If you have relevant facts, ideas, or opinions to share, please write them in the comments sections below the posts on the site.
Yes, In My Backyard was created by Tracy Huling, Soros Justice Fellow. She has worked on issues involving prisons, development and communities for more than 20 years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collaborators contributing content to this website include:
* Graduate student Jarred Williams who is aggregating data on closed prisons and their reuse at:
*Policy Analyst Nicole Porter
*Sociologist Greg Hooks