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The spatial and temporal development of British prisons from 1901 to the present: The role of de-industrialisation

Jones, Phil Mike; Gray, Emily; Farrall, Stephen


Phil Mike Jones

Emily Gray


This paper combines archival data and statistical analysis to investigate the context-specific ways that prisons expanded and affected communities in the UK, focusing closely on the role of the UK's political economy. We present evidence of a significant increase of prisons in the counties where the coal-mining industry was dismantled during the 1980s and 1990s. We identify former coal-mining areas based on Coal Mining Reporting Areas and the methodology used by Beatty and Fothergill (1996) and test if more prisons were opened in former coal-mining areas than non-coal-mining areas per capita post-closures. Using Poisson regression analyses and controlling for population changes, we found that coal-mining counties were significantly more likely to acquire a new prison between 1981 and 2001 than those areas which were not affected by de-industrialisation. We apply Derrida's thinking on hauntology to reexamine the spatial legacy of Thatcherism in these communities as a means to understand history and culture, and the unraveling of the past, present, and future.


Jones, P. M., Gray, E., & Farrall, S. (2022). The spatial and temporal development of British prisons from 1901 to the present: The role of de-industrialisation. European Journal of Criminology,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 30, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 24, 2022
Publication Date Aug 24, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 24, 2022
Journal European Journal of Criminology
Print ISSN 1477-3708
Electronic ISSN 1741-2609
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Thatcherism; Geography; Prisons; Prison Building; Politics; Neoliberalism; Hauntology
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