Minn. Census prison count comes with downside

by Peter Wagner, April 16, 2010  

Sarah Walker shared this great-but-unpublished letter to the editor with us:

Minn. Census prison count comes with downside

Dear Editor,

The Census Bureau is counting the people incarcerated at the FMC
prison as residents of the town [“FMC inmates are Rochester residents, too“] but the article only touched only a serious downside: this population is used to draw city ward districts.

Minnesota doesn’t let prisoners vote, and the state constitution says
that they aren’t residents of Rochester: “no person loses residence …
while confined in any public prison.” (Art VII, Section 2.) Using prison
counts to make the ward with the prison look more populous distorts
the idea of One Person One Vote. It is not fair to grant every 94
residents who live near the prison the same influence as 100 residents of other
wards.

The solution? Do what Pine County does and ignore the prison population when drawing local districts. Or support S.F. 3097/H.F. 3536 which would prohibit the state, county and local districts from using prison populations as padding at districting time.

Let’s make the promise of equal representation real.

Sarah Walker
Minnesota Second Chance Coalition
St. Paul
April 3, 2010

Meet us

  • February 5, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be in New York for the reception of the exhibition, Prison Obscura, curated by Prison Photography editor Pete Brook. The exhibition includes Prison Map by Josh Begley and Proliferation by Paul Rucker, both of which rely on Prison Policy Initiative data to show the scale of mass incarceration. The event will be held at Parsons School of Design from 6:30-8:30pm and a Curator’s Talk by Pete Brooks at 5:45pm.
  • February 6, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be at Yale for a panel presentation at the Equality Re-Imagined Conference.
  • February 20, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner, Board Member Amanda Alexander and Advisory Board Member Bruce Reilly will present on a panel entitled “The fight against mass incarceration: Combining litigation and policy work for systemic change” at RebLaw at Yale Law School from 3-4:30pm.
  • February 24, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be speaking to the American Constitution Society Chapter at UConn School of Law at 12:30pm. Topics will include mass incarceration, prison gerrymandering, sentencing enhancement zones and more.

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Events

  • February 5, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be in New York for the reception of the exhibition, Prison Obscura, curated by Prison Photography editor Pete Brook. The exhibition includes Prison Map by Josh Begley and Proliferation by Paul Rucker, both of which rely on Prison Policy Initiative data to show the scale of mass incarceration. The event will be held at Parsons School of Design from 6:30-8:30pm and a Curator’s Talk by Pete Brooks at 5:45pm.
  • February 6, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be at Yale for a panel presentation at the Equality Re-Imagined Conference.
  • February 20, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner, Board Member Amanda Alexander and Advisory Board Member Bruce Reilly will present on a panel entitled “The fight against mass incarceration: Combining litigation and policy work for systemic change” at RebLaw at Yale Law School from 3-4:30pm.
  • February 24, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be speaking to the American Constitution Society Chapter at UConn School of Law at 12:30pm. Topics will include mass incarceration, prison gerrymandering, sentencing enhancement zones and more.

Not near you?
Invite us to your city, college or organization.

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