Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This article develops an analytic of carceral structures that bridge processes of racist inclusion and exclusion. It does so by examining the relocation of a county jail from Detroit's central business district into a hazardous waste corridor. In recent years, county administrators have funded jail expansions using revenues from tax foreclosure surpluses produced by evicting majority-Black Detroit residents. Buildings that disappear Black people within the strictures of mass incarceration are financed by the mass displacement of Black people from their homes. Jails have been central features of Detroit's downtown neighborhood since the 19th century. Surrounding property owners celebrated their late 20th century expansions as a means of supporting districts experiencing the economic fallout of racist population loss. However, when county administrators ran out of funds to complete a jail expansion, developers successfully lobbied to transform the jail site into a campus of a majority-white university. Their plan included rehousing incarcerated people in new jails constructed on the site of unused warehouses adjacent to an incinerator. By attending to Black Detroiters as they navigate dislocations that make incarceration financially possible, this article argues that uneven development is funded by the articulation of racist displacement with racist captivity. In so doing, it offers a model for identifying the expansive structures of carceral institutions as they organize the production of space in the context of racial capitalism.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1518
Print ISSN
0003-5491
Pages
pp. 333-361
Launched on MUSE
2022-06-26
Open Access
No
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