The Letcher Governance Project was founded in 2016 in response to the announcement that $444 million was allocated for the construction of a federal prison in Letcher County, Kentucky. The LGP believes that the future of our community depends on the voices of all. We are responsible for holding elected officials accountable for the fiscal decisions they make, and for governing our communities by envisioning solutions that work.
The LGP is made up entirely of local residents, and rejects a prison as the best form of economic development for Letcher County. Study after study has shown that prisons do not create the amount of jobs or economic benefits that officials often tout. And indeed, the planning process for the proposed United States Penitentiary Letcher County (USP Letcher) has largely been done by wealthy and powerful people in the county, without the input of local landowners and citizens.
The LGP stands against the racist systems that lead to mass incarceration, as well as mass incarceration itself, and advocates for a judicial system based on restorative justice. We are deeply concerned with the gradual increase of prisons in the central Appalachian region, and we advocate for a regional economy that is not built on fossil fuel industries and prisons.
Finally, the Letcher Governance Project aims to highlight economic and political corruption at the local level, and advocates for democratic, transparent public institutions.