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Prison gerrymandering gives extra political power to legislators who have prisons in their districts. We put numbers on the problem and sparked a movement to protect our democratic process from the overgrown prison system.

Can you help us continue the fight? All gifts made this year will be automatically matched by other donors. Thank you.

Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate

Rhode Island activist says “Still time to pass the Residence of Those in Government Custody Act”

by Peter Wagner, June 7, 2010

Bruce Reilly reports that the Rhode Island legislature is preparing to adjourn without voting on bill #7833, Residence of those in Government Custody Act, sponsored by Joe Almeida.

The bill would count incarcerated people at home for redistricting purposes. If the state fails to act and draws legislative districts based on the Census Bureau’s 2010 prison counts, the state is likely to be home to the most dramatic example of state legislative prison-based gerrymandering in the nation. Rhode Island prisons are clustered in such a way that one legislative district will be about 30% incarcerated, giving every 7 people in one portion of Cranston as much influence as 10 people in any other part of the state.

Bruce says that the legislature’s leadership needs to hear from you that ending prison-based gerrymandering is a priority. More info and contact information is in his blog post.

Rhode Island can make history, and join the state of Maryland and the Delaware House of Representatives in passing legislation to end prison-based gerrymandering, or it can do nothing and make an entirely different kind of history.

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