From Steel Mills to Steel Bars: Historicizing the Carceral State in Deindustrialized Rust Belt America

Chance Grable : History

Mentor: Waldo Martin, History

Since the 1970’s, two simultaneous processes of mass incarceration and deindustrialization have transformed the US into a postindustrial society with the largest incarceration system globally. Chance’s research will explore the intertwined history of these two processes through a close study of the prison siting in Youngstown, Ohio, an extreme example of deindustrialization. Through this study, Chance will attempt to answer why prisons emerged in deindustrialized geographies and the resulting social, political and economic impacts. In addition to government documents and oral histories, Chance will examine the archive of activist couple Staughton and Alice Lynd, for insight into how Youngstowners experienced and responded to deindustrialization and mass incarceration. By connecting the histories of these two processes, Chance aspires to employ history to inform policies and grassroots efforts that address both mass incarceration and deindustrialization.