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689 of America's Prisons, in One Hypnotizing Database

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In the last few years, Prison Policy Initiative and Prisoners of the Census took on the herculean task of accumulating and organizing the complete latitudes and longitudes of our prison system. The data, culled from the 2010 census, is an abstracted and exhaustive list of America's 4,916 federal prisons, local jails, detention centers, and, privately-run facilities. Then came Josh Begley, a NYU graduate student who craved a more tangible portrait of the extent of the country's prison system.

So he asked: "What does it mean to have 5,000 or 6,000 people locked up in the same place?" A short time later, in 2012, PrisonMap was born. Using a simple processing sketch and Google Maps API, Begley transformed the data into a single screenshot landscape. The website does much to convey sheer enormity of the system, one that jails 743 out of every 100,000 citizens. Have a look.

· Prison Map [official site]
· No One Knows What to Do with All These Empty U.S. Prisons [Curbed National]