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IEMI and Partners Launch Coalition to Oppose New Prison in Eastern Kentucky

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The Institute to End Mass Incarceration, in partnership with grassroots organizers, local residents, and a coalition of regional and national organizations is a founding member of the Building Community Not Prisons coalition, formed to oppose the proposed construction of a new federal prison, FCI Letcher, in Eastern Kentucky. If built, the prison would be the most expensive carceral facility in the nation. Both the Trump and Biden administrations have told Congress that the prison is unnecessary and should not be built. But Representative Hal Rogers (R KY-5) has successfully pressed the prison into the federal budget, over intense local, regional, and national opposition.

Communities that would lose loved ones to this prison know that we need Congress to work to stem the growth of our uniquely destructive system of mass incarceration.

Premal Dharia, IEMI Executive Director

In a press release announcing the new coalition’s existence, IEMI Executive Director Premal Dharia warned that the proposed prison would “cause further damage to some of our country’s most vulnerable communities – in Appalachia and throughout the mid-Atlantic region.” Observing that prisons in central Appalachia incarcerate “Black and brown people who are removed from their communities” hundreds of miles away, Dharia said that “we need Congress to work to stem the growth of our uniquely destructive system of mass incarceration,” instead of pursuing a prison that presidents of both parties have declared wasteful and unnecessary.

The Institute’s work to oppose FCI Letcher is part of its Carceral Infrastructure Project.