Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Publication Date

Spring 4-26-2022


Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of


Political Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Nathan Griffith

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


For the last several decades, rural communities in the United States have struggled to keep their economies afloat. In an effort to revitalize such economies, local leaders have bid on being the host communities for prisons– both federal and private. Do these prison facilities actually affect rural economies? Equally, how do these prison hosting communities differ from neighboring counties that do not have prisons? By examining various rural prison counties from across the country, as well as their non-prison county counterparts, I argue that, despite an undeniable uptick in jobs, the quality of life in these communities is often unchanged, and in some cases may even become worse due to an increase in income inequality, community division, and the unfortunate stigmas surrounding being a prison host community.