Graduation Date

Fall 2018

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Sociology

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Anthony Silvaggio

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Renée Byrd

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



This thesis examines the link between anthropogenic climate change and mass incarceration by examining how governments address conditions in and around prisons resulting from hurricanes and wildfires. Critical Environmental Justice, Treadmill of Production and Destruction theories are synthesized using what is debuted here as an intersectional camera based on the theory of intersectionality. It examines how Trump administration policies will greatly exacerbate dangers caused by climate change and increase risks and dangers caused by mass incarceration. In addition to being a call to action, this project is intended to serve as a resource for prisoner rights activists. Prisons have become more ubiquitous, perilous and toxic over the past five decades, while the network of local, state, federal, and private systems responsible for their safety and maintenance has become increasingly chaotic. This thesis is a descriptive study that utilizes existing data from academic papers, news reports and legal cases to highlight the impacts of climate change on the marginalized inmate community and, simultaneously, the natural environment that surrounds incarceration facilities.

The need for this analysis is particularly imperative in light of recent efforts by the Trump administration to bureaucratically and legislatively eviscerate regulations designed to protect human and ecological health that will magnify dangers caused by increasing global temperatures and subsequent extreme weather events like hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. Further, Trump Administration policies designed to increasingly criminalize and incarcerate already marginalized communities will exacerbate their vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location