Million Dollar Blocks

New Orleans, LA

A project that includes prison expenditure maps to examine changes in the way money is invested in communities. Chang worked on this project in 2005-2007 in New Orleans as part of a fellowship with the Spatial Information Design Lab. More than 2 million people are in jails and prisons in the U.S., and Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the world. In many places the concentration is so dense that the government spends over a million dollars per year to imprison residents of a single city block. At the same time, communities are continuously struggling to receive funding for civic services like youth programs, job training, and peer support that would provide more opportunities for residents and prevent a life towards crime. These maps provide the case that money is available if used in better ways. They worked with a justice reinvestment network of local organizations, including Cafe Reconcile, Safe Streets/Strong Communities and the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, to help establish local pilot projects for job training, health services, and mentorship programs supported by justice reinvestment funding.

Project Director: Laura Kurgan. Project Coordinator: Steven Caputo, Research Associates: Johnna Cressica Brazier, Deborah Grossberg Katz. 2006 Fellows: Candy Chang. Andrew Colopy, Derek Lindner, Leah Meisterlin, Julia Molloy. This work builds upon a two year research project: Graphical Innovations in Justice Mapping, a collaboration between the Justice Mapping Center, the Spatial Information Design Lab and the JFA Institute. Project Team: Laura Kurgan, Eric Cadora (Project Directors), Sarah Williams, David Reinfurt. Invaluable research and thinking was also provided by the students in the GSAPP Advanced Studio, Spring 2007: Johnna Cressica Brazier, Steven Caputo, Jane Estrada, Laura Lee, Catie Liken, John G. Lloyd, Annemarie Scheel


Percent persons living in poverty per block group, 2000


Percent adults admitted to prison per block group, 2003


Prison expenditures per block in thousands of dollars, 2007


Justice reinvestment network in Central City, 2007








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