Does America Need Another Prison? It may be this rural county’s only chance at survival

By Jon Schuppe Mar 22, 2018

A view of Letcher County from the top of Pine Mountain

WHITESBURG, Ky. — If it wasn’t for his family’s bond to the mountainside where he grew up, Aaron Boggs might have fled by now.

His home is Letcher County, a rugged and remote part of eastern Kentucky sustained for generations by a coal industry that now hardly exists. He remains here out of a sense of duty, but now the prospect of a big new federal project is giving him hope that the area might have an economic future after all.

The project would be a prison.

Starving for jobs, the county has asked the federal government to build a penitentiary here, on the site of an abandoned mountaintop strip mine.

“Having that kind of thing come in, it could symbolize a change in the economy and maybe turn the tide and everything will go back to what it — halfway, at least — to what it was when the coal mines were here,” Boggs, 21, said.

He works at a restaurant while completing college, and envisions himself commuting to the prison from the converted trailer where he lives with his 19-year-old wife, on land still tended by his grandfather. “Hopefully, if the prison does go in, I can get a job there and it will be secure and I’ll be making enough to provide for us where we don’t have to struggle.”


Watch: Hoping for a prison

2 Replies to “Does America Need Another Prison? It may be this rural county’s only chance at survival”

  1. It is beyond my comprehension that anyone would encourage ANOTHER PRISON in this Country! ONLY if one is completely eradicated when a new one is built – to eliminate old and unlivable conditions … Mass incarceration SHOULD NOT be a “business” – either “for profit” or otherwise. HEMP farming would be an excellent alternative to prison’s. THIS could be very profitable for all involved. It has been proven.

    To place a “new” Federal Prison on top of an old mining site is just asking for more incarceration and more regulations and Statutes which would instigate such incarceration!

    The young man who they pick to talk about this story in the beginning is only 21 years old. Ignorance is NOT bliss – not anymore! Wake up! You may well be one of the incarcerated individuals that is lucky enough to get to do time in the new prison!

    People PLEASE quit begging for your rights to be stripped away and to be housed by the Government for non-violent offenses – half of which shouldn’t be an “offense” in the first place!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.