Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Susan Phillips

Reader 2

Kimberly Drake

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Many scholars have established a connection between Environmental Justice (EJ) and the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC), EJ and human rights, and the PIC and human rights.. The aim of this thesis is to encourage a conversation that connects these three concepts: EJ, the PIC, and human rights. This will be accomplished by scrutinizing a legal case called Rutherford v. Luna, in which American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyers contend that individuals incarcerated in the inmate reception center of Los Angeles County are enduring inhumane conditions. I employ this case as an example of the PIC, illustrating that the PIC represents EJ as a human rights concern. Furthermore, this thesis seeks to extend the discussion on prison reform vs prison abolition. To achieve this goal, I will demonstrate how the Rutherford v. Luna case proposes reformist solutions, and I will present insights from interviews with experienced prison abolitionists, including two formerly incarcerated individuals, who will share their knowledge and experience as abolitionists.