Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Vanessa Tyson

Reader 2

David Andrews

Rights Information

© Corey G Smith


This thesis explores how the building of a prison impacts local political behaviors and public opinion. Economic development during the late 20th century left agricultural and manufacturing based regions of the United States struggling to maintain a reliable sense of financial prosperity, thereby propelling rural regions into the prison-building business. In this thesis, I analyze the voting data of five rural Californian towns concerning Proposition 7 (1978) and Proposition 47 (2014). Through this data analysis and a synthesis of the literature on prison host communities, this thesis investigates whether the construction of a prison has influenced political action regarding prison reform over the past 40 years.