Alexis Kinney

Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2010

Capstone Advisor

Dr. Tom Perreault

Honors Reader

Dr. John Western

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Geography | Human Geography | Nature and Society Relations | Other Geography


This Capstone project examines the effect of New York State’s prison industrial complex on local economies. The prison industrial complex is a system of imprisonment that, through various methods, transforms prisoners into commodities. The complex involves endorsing legislation to create more crimes and longer sentences for those crimes, thus increasing the number, and term length, of incarcerated citizens. In New York, the creation of the Rockefeller drug laws resulted in a revitalized diligence in the war against drugs, leading to the promotion of prisoner-based upstate economies. Through engagement with United States drugs laws, historical accounts of drug use and addiction, and statistical analysis and research in regards to race, wealth, gender, and drug use this Capstone provides original maps that illustrate the racist nature of the Rockefeller drug laws, New York’s main drug law set, and the spatial organization of the prison system itself. Also, through personal interviews with state and city officials the project describes the distinct power structure within the prison system, involving guards and officials, as well as inmates. Overall, this project aims to understand why in many instances in the incarceration process in New York State, the modern black man falls victim to the power of the prison industrial complex and faulty legislation, that ultimately, transforms addict, into convict.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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