Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Within the disaster literature, few studies have been devoted to the role of incarcerated populations as a source of labor within the context of emergency operations. When faced with a lack of resources, emergency management rely on inmate labor forces to prepare for and respond to hazards and disasters. In the U.S., inmates from the Louisiana State Penitentiary helped with sandbagging the facilities in preparing for the potentially flooding of the Mississippi River and Hurricane Katrina (Gaillard, 2012). The state of California has long maintained inmate firefighting forces to combat destructive wildfires statewide (Goodman, 2012). However, there has never been a comprehensive analysis of how inmate labor forces are utilized as resources for emergency management activities across the U.S. In order to address this gap within the literature, I analyze state Emergency Operations Plans and the various tasks in which inmates are described as responsible for. In addition to the analysis of inmate labor forces, the various prescribed identities of inmate populations within the EOPs are examined. Not only are inmate populations described as a labor resource, but also as a vulnerable population deserving of special protections and yet also a hazardous population, requiring extensive measures to protect the greater public from potentially dangerous situations which they might incite such as riots or hostage situations. Within the state EOPs, differences in how emergency management identifies inmate populations as well as the type of labor activities in which they participate in are examined.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Meyer, Michelle

Included in

Sociology Commons