Prison Map Shows Unsettling Sprawl of America’s Penitentiary System

Josh Begley created a website to visually answer one troubling question: “What does the geography of incarceration in the United States look like?”

Photo courtesy Prison Map

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, the United States “locks up more people, per capita, than any other nation,” with more than 2.4 million people incarcerated, effectively making America the penitentiary capital of the world.

Josh Begley, an interactive telecommunications graduate student at New York University, got to thinking about mass incarceration while in a data visualization class, and how tired he was of the usual spread of data and graphs used to showcase this issue. He wondered: “What does it mean to have 5,000 or 6,000 people locked up in the same place? What do these carceral spaces look like? How do they transform (or get transformed by) the landscape around them?

And so he decided to display the prison sprawl in a different way: “mapping” it through satellite photography of all 4,916 prison facilities in the United States on a website—Prison Map. Using Google Maps and code he tailored himself, Begley utilized coordinates of all the correctional institutions supplied by Prisoners of the Census, to take and pull in aerial shots of each facility to the site.

The result is visually astonishing and unsettling. Begley allows the overwhelming volume of photographs speak for itself, each shot stacked in a compact grid beneath one daunting question: “What does the geography of incarceration in the United States look like?”

Only 700 of the best photos were included on the homepage (14 percent of the total images he’s amassed), with the entirety displayed here.

Prison Map will be included in the “Prison Obscura” exhibition organized by’s Pete Brook which will explore the prison industrial complex and opens in February at New York’s Parson’s New School for Design.

via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

The phrase "stay in your lane" is usually lobbed at celebrities who talk about politics on Twitter by people who disagree with them. People in the sports world will often get a "stick to sports" when they try to have an opinion that lies outside of the field of play.

Keep Reading

The Free the Nipple movement is trying to remove the stigma on women's breasts by making it culturally acceptable and legal for women to go topless in public. But it turns out, Free the Nipple might be fighting on the wrong front and should be focusing on freeing the nipple in a place you'd never expect. Your own home.

A woman in Utah is facing criminal charges for not wearing a shirt in her house, with prosecutors arguing that women's chests are culturally considered lewd.

Keep Reading

In August, the Recording Academy hired their first female CEO, Deborah Dugan. Ten days before the Grammys, Dugan was placed on administrative leave for misconduct allegations after a female employee said Dugan was "abusive" and created a "toxic and intolerable" work environment. However, Dugan says she was actually removed from her position for complaining to human resources about sexual harassment, pay disparities, and conflicts of interest in the award show's nomination process.

Just five days before the Grammys, Dugan filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and her claims are many. Dugan says she was paid less than former CEO Neil Portnow. In 2018, Portnow received criticism for saying women need to "step up" when only two female acts won Grammys. Portnow decided to not renew his contract shortly after. Dugan says she was also asked to hire Portnow as a consultant for $750,000 a year, which she refused to do.

Keep Reading