A portrait of Peter Wagner.
Peter Wagner
Executive Director
I need your help. For 14 years, the Prison Policy Initiative has been at the forefront of the movement to keep the prison system from exerting undue influence on our electoral process. Our work has changed how our democracy works in 4 states and hundreds of local governments. We’ve even won at the Supreme Court, but our long-term viability depends on people like you investing in our work.

Can you stand up for democracy by joining our small network of donors today? You can make a one-time gift, or become a monthly donor.

I thank you for investing in our work for a more just tomorrow.
—Peter Wagner
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The U.S. Census Bureau counts incarcerated people where they are confined not where they are from. Using these counts to draw state and county legislative districts enhances the weight of a vote cast by people who live near prisons at the expense of everyone else in the state or county. Maryland passed a first-in the-nation law to correct that inequity.

The No Representation Without Population Act, introduced in the House of Delegates by Delegate Pena-Melnyk as HB496 and in the Senate by Senator Pugh as SB400, January 29, 2010 was signed by the Governor on April 13, 2010.

See the PPI/Demos press release: Maryland enacts law to count incarcerated people at their home addresses: First-in-nation law will improve fairness and accuracy of the Census data used for redistricting; or the ACLU/NAACP release: ACLU, NAACP Celebrate Passage of “Prisoners of the Census” Redistricting Legislation

The state released the adjusted population data on March 22, 2011, pursuant to the state regulations (Title 34, Subtitle 5), which detail the law's implementation.

June 2012 update: The No Representation Without Population Act was unsuccessfully challenged in federal court by the plaintiffs in Fletcher v. Lamone. In December 2011, a federal three-judge panel rejected the lawsuit. The plaintiffs appealed, but on June 25, 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's decision upholding the law. For more details and case documents, see our Fletcher v. Lamone page.

Fact sheets


  • Importing Constituents: Incarcerated People and Political Clout in Maryland, by Peter Wagner and Olivia Cummings, March 4, 2010 is our district-by-district analysis of how crediting Baltimore City’s incarcerated residents to remote districts distorts democracy and dilutes the votes of all voters in all other districts.


Press coverage & editorials

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  • September 21, 2016:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be speaking at Claremont McKenna College in California. Details TBA.

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