Doctoral Dissertation Research: Bullock: Community Development, Livelihood Strategies, and Carceral Privatization in the U.S. South

Grants and Contracts Details


Louisiana has the highest rate of incarceration per capita in the U.S. and the world. In addition to local residents who are arrested, awaiting trials, or serving short sentences, nearly half of Louisiana’s state prisoners circulate through local jails run by private companies or local sheriffs in exchange for per diems from the state. Privatization shifts carceral administration from the state to corporate actors and indexes penal justice to markets, spurring debates largely framed in terms of cost efficiencies and moral legitimacy of corporatized punishment. These debates divert attention from lived experience in communities where extractive, privatized incarceration constitutes a primary feature of everyday life and local history. LaSalle Corrections, LLC, operates 11 facilities in northern Louisiana. Four of them are located in Tallulah, a predominately African American community in the U.S. south. Highly visible on the landscape, these facilities have a combined capacity to incarcerate nearly 25% of the city’s estimated population. The proposed ethnographic research employs a generational approach to understand how an extractive privatized carceral economy in Tallulah influences the ways people create livelihoods and imagine possible futures in the context of historically racialized patterns of poverty, unemployment, and low educational attainment. This research will produce ethnographic data regarding the relationships between carceral privatization, pressing socioeconomic issues, and daily life in northeast Louisiana to contribute to anthropological understanding of the incarceration and privatization while filling a gap in the regional literature that is applicable to other areas where these conditions persist.
Effective start/end date2/1/1810/31/19


  • National Science Foundation: $20,183.00


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