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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by Peter Wagner, October 30, 2007

The New York Times editorial page reported yesterday that a budget dispute between the Bush Administration and Congress is endangering the 2010 Census. In response to the budget shortfall, the Census Bureau has canceled next year’s practice count of people in prison, military barracks, college dorms, nursing homes, and shelters. Further cuts in Census preparations are expected unless the budget is restored by mid-November.

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by John Hejduk, October 24, 2007

With the 2010 Census approaching, a key question presents itself: Where should Ohio’s prison population be counted? There is a nationwide controversy about the Census Bureau’s practice of counting prisoners as residents of the prison location. This practice unconstitutionally inflates political clout in rural prison towns by counting nonvoting prisoners as part of the constituency. Even though the Constitution dictates that all votes be given equal weight, the Census’s method for counting prisoners has caused some areas to afford voters more than twice the power of others. Though the issue has been addressed at the state level, the prisoner miscount’s impact on local government has been much more severe and has gone largely unnoticed.

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October 18, 2007

Announce National Letter-Writing Campaign to Urge Policy Change

For Immediate Release:
October 18, 2007
Contact: Michael Meade 646-522-8601
Peter Wagner (413) 527-0845

Today, State Senator Eric Schneiderman, Peter Wagner, Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative, State Senators Eric Adams and Liz Krueger, Assemblymembers Adriano Espaillat, Micah Kellner, Keith Wright and Adam Clayton Powell, Council Members Robert Jackson, Miguel Martinez, and Melissa Mark Viverito and criminal justice and democracy advocates called on the United States Census Bureau to begin counting prisoners in their home communities, rather than where they are incarcerated. Elected officials and advocates also announced the beginning of a national letter-writing campaign by local elected officials in New York and around the country to urge a change in this policy.

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