Coding Maps

Prisons with Golf Courses

I don’t really know how American prisons work, but if day release is allowed for low-risk, low-security prisoners, I can imagine that having a golf course nearby might appeal to some current and potential future Federal Prison inamates.

For this one I decided to use Wikipedia for the location data for the prisons as I wasn’t sure when I started how to find specifically federal prisons on OSM.

My first search term searched to see if each prison had a golf course within 10 km of it. However, it turns out almost every federal prison in America is within 10 km of a golf course. Pondering on this discovery a bit more, it dawned on me that land requirements for large prisons and golf courses are almost identical

  • Near an urban area for staff to live
  • Close to infrastructures like electricity, water and roads
  • Large empty areas of cheap land
  • Steady supply of morally bankrupt people to fill it with

So it’s not actually that surprising that golf courses and federal prisons are often situated very closely together. I decided to drop the search radius to 2 km, because then our hypothetical golfing federal prisoner could do the trip from his cell block to the first tee by golf buggy alone in about 10 minutes (average speed about 15 kph).

10 Federal prisons still fit the bill, and delightfully these include ADX Florence, where the US imprisons captured Russian agents and other notorious traitors; and FPC Montgomery where Charles Kushner – Jared Kushner’s father – spent 14 months after pleading guilty to 18 counts of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering.

The number one federal prison for golf lovers, though, appears to be FCI Englewood, which is not just next to a golf course, it’s next to three golf courses.

Source code and data can be found on github here:

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