This article is the guest editor’s introduction to a special issue of Pacific Historical Review titled “The Carceral West.” Whereas scholarship on the carceral state has traditionally focused on the U.S. South, the urban North, and post-war Los Angeles, scholars have more recently begun to focus on the long history of incarceration throughout the U.S. West. The West provides a rich environment for examining the carceral state, especially as it relates to race and immigration. Additional articles in this special issue include Elliott Young on immigrant incarceration at McNeil Federal Penitentiary between 1880 and 1930, Benjamin Madley interpreting the Spanish Mission system as a carceral regime, and Mary Mendoza examining the U.S.-Mexico border fence as a carceral environment that locks undocumented immigrants both in and out.

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