The Hidden Connection Between the Ohio Derailment, Environmental Injustice, and Mass Incarceration

April 16, 2023

“While attention has been given to social phenomena such as redlining and zoning codes as key tenets of environmental injustice, the carceral state has not received as much attention in its role in exposing minority populations to environmental hazards. This is surprising given that correctional facilities are located in places that are unhealthy for humans and also that incarceration disproportionately impacted communities of color. Nearly 1 in 3 Black men will be incarcerated during their lives, and Black and Latinx are disproportionately represented in the corrections occupation. Thus, addressing environmental injustice requires attention towards abolishing mass incarceration.

“Advocacy around these issues is being led by those most impacted, including JustLeadershipUSA—a national advocacy organization led by those who have been involved in the criminal legal system. I support the organization’s call for the passage of the Correctional Facility Disaster Preparedness Act, a bill introduced by Senator Duckworth which would require the Bureau of Prisons to generate annual reports of disaster damage to Congress.”

Tyler Harvey writes for Common Dreams about the federal government’s response to the East Palestine train derailment and the #JustUS campaign, which calls for lawmakers to pass the Correctional Facility Disaster Preparedness Act to begin addressing the link between environmental injustice, systemic racism, and mass incarceration.

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