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.

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—Peter Wagner
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Changing how prisoners are counted will not require a change in how college students are counted

by Peter Wagner, March 1, 2004  

Unlike college students, prisoners are not a part of the local community. While some colleges are partially self-reliant communities, prisons are entirely so. Students are welcome and encouraged to come in to town to purchase goods and services and to rent apartments. Students can register to vote in the local community and may decide to stay permanently after graduation.

Prisoners are barred from leaving the facility without official permission. Forty-eight states bar prisoners from voting, and those that allow prisoners to vote require the voting to be done via absentee ballot back home. Finally, parole regulations frequently require prisoners to be returned to their original county of conviction upon release.

While students are a part of the host community, prisoners are not.

For more information on how students are counted, see our new FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section.

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