CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Armstrong on Environmental Justice and Death Row Conditions

Armstrong andreaAndrea C. Armstrong (Loyola University New Orleans College of Law) has posted Death Row Conditions Through an Environmental Justice Lens (70 Ark. L. Rev. 203 (2017)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This Article applies an environmental justice lens to the experience of Glenn Ford to explore the environmental hazards associated with long-term involuntary confinement in prisons. Mr. Ford was released after twenty-nine years on death row in the Louisiana State Pentitentiary when the state conceded he had been wrongly convicted. Fifteen months later, Glenn died from lung cancer, which he believed may have been caused by many of the conditions he faced in prison, including exposure to hazardous chemicals, rust, and lead. The Environmental Protection Agency has noted that prisons and jails are a source of environmental hazards, but these institutions are rarely the focus of environmental justice advocates. Environmental justice is a term that recognizes disproportionate environmental harms to, and the empowerment of, impacted communities. Due to extended time-in-cell, individuals on death row, the majority of whom are members of racial minority groups in the U.S., may be subject to distinct environmental hazards. Adopting an environmental justice lens to prison conditions may provide unrealized opportunities doctrinally as well as shift our understanding of prisons and the importance of impacted voices in prison reform.

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