The confining nature of climate change on incarcerated people

Read the full story at Ms. Magazine.

Late last month, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their sixth assessment report, which examines the impacts and solutions to climate change. It showed that society is not doing enough to mitigate the effects of climate change. From extreme flooding in Florida from Tropical Storm Elsa in July, to the wildfires that ravaged California last year, climate change is being realized in our everyday lives—with no end in sight. In fact, in the next 30 years, the cost of flood damage is expected to rise by 26 percent, according to a recent study. The IPCC report identifies half of the global population as living in highly vulnerable locations.

While these events are terrifying for all, climate-induced catastrophes disproportionately affect people who are incarcerated, as they are physically unable to flee. There are “54 jails, prisons, and detention centers nationwide that hold more than 1,000 people that are above the 95th percentile for wildfire risk,” according to The Intercept. There are also approximately 621 correctional facilities in the U.S. that are posed to major flood risks—even in landlocked states such as Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia. 

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