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Are America's Prison Towns Doomed?

With the nation's incarceration rate steadily declining, small towns that bet big on prisons are finding themselves in a financial jam.
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Over the last 30 years, Texas built over 90 prisons, quintupling the number of detention centers in the state and earning the title of highest state incarceration rate in the process.

As much as Texas ended up an outlier, it was by no means alone. All across the U.S. during the 1970s, '80s and early '90s, depressed villages and hamlets in need of an industry, from the Mississippi Delta to the Appalachian Coal Belt, signed up to build oversized detention facilities on the outskirts of town, surrounded by barbed wire and klieg lights, in the hopes of bolstering the local economy with taxes, jobs and associated retail.