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Incarceration, Wilderness, & The Adirondack Paradox
For nearly two centuries, the remote forestlands and high mountain peaks of the Adirondacks have provided opportunities for middle-class recreation, wilderness adventure, and scientific research. At the same time, those natural characteristics led state and federal authorities to look toward the North Country as a convenient location for a network of prisons. Towns and villages across the Adirondacks have since come to rely on prisons as a source of economic development, employment, and state funding. The Park’s recreational infrastructure is equally tied into the region’s prison system, as the poorly paid labor of incarcerated workers supports otherwise unaffordable conservation projects. In this sense, Adirondack wilderness has been shaped by the unfortunate trend towards mass incarceration.

What are the ramifications of this reliance on prisons for incarcerated people, residents of the Park, and the Adirondack Park itself? In this presentation, Dr. Alice Green, Dr. Clarence Jefferson Hall, and Anna Givens will explore the region’s historical relationship with prisons and the racial and class dynamics of the Adirondack prison system, while highlighting the work of individuals and activist groups to limit the harms of incarceration.

Presented by the Adirondack Experience, Adirondack Diversity Initiative, the Wild Center, and the Nature Conservancy.

Jun 28, 2022 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Dr. Alice Paden Green
@The Center for Law and Justice
Dr. Alice Green is the Executive Director of the Center for Law and Justice, a civil rights organization she founded in 1985. She has a doctorate in criminal justice and 3 master’s degrees – education, social work, and criminology. The Center provides community education on civil and criminal justice, legal guidance and advocacy, crisis intervention, and community planning and organizing around criminal justice, civil rights and civil liberties issues of particular concern to poor communities and those of color. Dr. Green writes and lectures on racism and criminal justice and often does commentary and analysis for a number of newspapers and television and radio programs.
Dr. Clarence Jefferson Hall
@City University of New York - Queensborough Community College
Clarence Jefferson Hall Jr. is assistant professor in the Department of History at Queensborough Community College, City University of New York, and visiting instructor of Sustainability Studies in the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. His research investigates the intersectional histories of environment, race, and incarceration in the U.S. Hall’s first book: A Prison in the Woods: Environment and Incarceration in New York’s North Country, was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2020.
Anna Givens
@University of Rochester
Anna Givens is a senior at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, majoring in Anthropology and Russian. During her time as a student, she has conducted extensive research on incarceration, including the criminalization of mental health patients at a local hospital and the ways in which federal prison contractors lobby the government. Recently, she completed an honors thesis in anthropology exploring prison siting in the Lake Placid area.