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. Gifts recieved in 2015 will be automatically matched by other donors.

I thank you for investing in our work for a more just tomorrow.
—Peter Wagner
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by Peter Wagner, September 29, 2008

A new opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit makes clear that at least some members of court remain intrigued and concerned that basing legislative districts on Census counts of prison populations may constitute impermissible vote dilution.

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by Evan Solochek, September 17, 2008

This article originally appeared in the print edition of Milwaukee Magazine.

Milwaukee Magazine coverYou might call Wisconsin’s 53rd State Assembly District the land of prisons. Hugging the western shore of Lake Winnebago, it includes sections of Oshkosh and also encompasses the Dodge, Waupun, Oshkosh and Winnebago correctional facilities. Some 5,000 “constituents,” or 9.5 percent of the district, are actually prisoners who don’t vote and are legal residents of another district, with many from Milwaukee.

It’s a blatant violation of US. Supreme Court rulings that require legislative districts be divided equally based on population, declares a new study of Wisconsin by the Massachusetts-based Prison Policy Initiative. Residents of the 53rd District get 10 percent more electoral power than other districts in Wisconsin, the study notes.

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by Peter Wagner, September 5, 2008

This article originally appeared in Open Society News.

A 200-year-old glitch in the U.S. census is causing an increasingly serious problem for American democracy. Members of the booming U.S. prison population continue to be counted as residents of the city or town where the prison is located, even though they don’t vote, pay taxes, or do anything else that would make them active citizens in the community outside the prison’s walls.

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