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The Intercept


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Social Studies, Civics, Geography, Health

Resource Type

  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Climate and Punishment

Ask a Question

  • This interactive map of the United States features over 6,000 correctional facilities and their levels of heat risk, wildfire risk, and flood risk due to climate change.
Teaching Tips


  • The Intercept's thorough reporting provides a robust data set for students to explore.
  • The color-coded dots on the map make it easy to see which correctional facilities are most at risk to extreme heat, wildfires, and floods.
  • Clicking "About the Project" or "Methodology and Data" in the top right corner of the page will provide more information about this project.

Additional Prerequisites

  • There are several ways to explore this data. Options for exploration include:
    • Using the search bar at the top of the page
    • Clicking on "Heat Risk," "Wildfire Risk," or "Flood Risk" in the top right corner of the page
    • Exploring the most at-risk facilities on the right side of the page
    • Browsing the map and clicking on individual facilities
  • When clicking on a facility, you are provided with an overhead satellite image, level of heat risk, level of wildfire risk, level of flood risk, and facility status.
  • Please be mindful of your students' personal lives before using this resource in class. Some of your students may have family members in correctional facilities in the United States. It may be necessary to check in on the mental health of your students before, during, and after using this resource.


  • This map can be used in science classes discussing the impacts of climate change. This is an excellent example of climate injustice and how climate change disproportionately impacts the most at-risk communities.
  • Students in civics classes can learn about conditions at local facilities and advocate for more humane living conditions at the state and federal level.
  • Interested teachers and older high school students may be able to visit correctional facilities to ask about plans to mitigate health risks from climate change.
  • Students with incarcerated family members may be able to share their personal connection to incarceration and climate change. Please be sensitive as some students may want to share while others may not.
Scientist Notes
This map explores the level of climate change impact on the health of inmates. It uses large datasets on cooling infrastructure, building materials, wind direction, vegetation cover, flood events, and other important climatic variables to evaluate health risk of inmates in selected counties of the USA. This resource is insightful; hence, it is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.3.9-12 Use geographic data to analyze variations in the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics at multiple scales.
      • D2.Geo.8.9-12 Evaluate the impact of economic activities and political decisions on spatial patterns within and among urban, suburban, and rural regions.
  • National Health Education Standards
    • Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
      • 1.12.3 Analyze how environment and personal health are interrelated.
    • Standard 3: Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information, products, and services to enhance health.
      • 3.12.2 Use resources from home, school, and community that provide valid health information.
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