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Invisibilized post-carceral health geographies of formerly incarcerated persons: A critical exploration of community reintegration and public health policy silences in Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Authors: Sophie Lachapelle*, Queen's University
Topics: Geography and Urban Health, Social Theory
Keywords: Post-Carceral geographies, community reintegration, public health
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Despite the widespread coverage in public health literature on the relationship between incarceration and health, there has been little attention to the health of incarcerated persons after prison. In Canada, public health is markedly silent in the post-incarceration landscape, oftentimes neither theoretically recognizing incarceration as a determinant of health, nor practically involved in post-incarceration support. Health geographers can attend to this policy silence by clarifying the potentially significant ways in which the wellbeing of formerly incarcerated persons is inextricable from the communities that either accept or exclude them. My paper interrogates this policy silence of through an exploration of lived reintegration experiences of formerly incarcerated persons in the ‘carceral city’ of Kingston, Ontario, Canada. As a prison hub of Canada, Kingston hosts seven prisons, housing approximately 17% of all federally incarcerated persons in Canada. However, Kingston falls under the jurisdiction of a public health authority that is neither present in local discussions of prison-community reintegration practice, nor considers the impact of incarceration as a public health priority. Kingston, therefore, provides an ideal setting to examine the sociospatial dimensions of post-carceral reintegration. Using data gathered from 15 semi-structured interviews and qualitative mapping of formerly incarcerated persons’ reintegration ‘circuits,’ my findings demonstrate the invisibilization of post-carceral health geographies of community reintegration in Kingston. My research points to both the practical need for improved public health service provision for formerly incarcerated persons, as well as opening up theoretical possibilities for a more geographically-informed approach to post-carceral public health epistemology and praxis.

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