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Carceral Infrastructure Project

Prisons and jails are the architecture of mass incarceration. Working with organizers across the country, we are helping lead the fight to stop them from being built.

Prisons and jails are the architecture of mass incarceration. Constructed during the prison boom of the 1980s, many of these facilities are at or near the end of their life cycles, forcing policymakers nationwide to confront the same question: Should communities spend billions of dollars rebuilding and reinvesting in the infrastructure of mass incarceration, cementing current carceral policies in place for another five decades? Or should they use this critical window of opportunity to choose a new path forward?

In cities and towns across the country, organizers are working to prevent new carceral infrastructure and to close facilities that currently exist. Working alongside them, IEMI is leading in this fight. As a founding member of the Building Community Not Prisons coalition, we work with organizers and community members in Eastern Kentucky and across the region to prevent construction of a proposed new federal prison in Letcher County, KY. As facilitators of the coalition’s Legal Strategy Working Group, we empower nonlawyers in the coalition to develop and hone legal tactics that support the campaign’s overarching organizing strategy, and we work with them them to execute those plans.

Beyond this campaign, IEMI is a leading voice among lawyers in the anticarceral infrastructure movement, with our team members facilitating and leading panels at local and national convenings. These include the Decarceral Visions conference, which brought together 600 organizers and activists engaged in anticarceral infrastructure campaigns nationwide, and the Carceral Landscapes conference, which invites architects and design students to imagine a decarceral future.

Read more below about our anticarceral infrastructure work.

Building Community Not Prisons

A coalition opposing construction of a new federal prison in Kentucky

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Decarceral Visions

A national convening of 600 people engaged in anticarceral infrastructure campaigns, where IEMI led the keynote panel and panels on movement lawyering, prison financing, and campaign strategy

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Carceral Landscapes

A convening of architects and design students, co-sponsored by IEMI, to imagine decarceral futures

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