I need your help. 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.

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13 New York State Senators who should be supporting an end to prison-based gerrymandering

by Peter Wagner, July 1, 2010

The majority of New York counties that have large prisons do not consider incarcerated people to be residents of their county and refuse to include the prison populations when drawing county legislative districts. In this way, all county residents are given the same access to government regardless of whether they live adjacent to a large prison. However, a handful of counties and two small cities have significant prison-based gerrymandering problems that remain unaddressed.

A bill pending in the New York legislation would end prison-based gerrymandering at the state, municipal and county levels. Elena Lavarreda has prepared an interesting analysis that links our previous research on county and municipal governments to state senate districts.

Elena looked to see which Senators have a notable prison-based gerrymandering problem at the county or municipal level within their senate districts. She found 7 senators could bring real benefits to their voting constituents by barring the practice of prison-based gerrymandering.

Darrel Aubertine (District 48):

Joseph Griffo (District 47):

Michael Nozzolio (District 54):

David Valesky (District 49):

Dale Volker (District 59):

George Winner (District 53):

Catherine Young (District 57):

Elena also looked at which Senators represent the 13 counties that refuse to gerrymander their county districts around prisons. She found 10 (4 also listed above) Senate districts where the local government is already on record as opposing prison-based gerrymandering.

  • John J. Bonacic (District 42): Sullivan County
  • William J. Larkin Jr. (District 39): Orange County
  • Betty Little (District 45): Clinton County, Essex County, Franklin County, Washington County
  • George D. Maziarz (District 62): Orleans County
  • Michael Nozzolio (District 54): Cayuga County
  • Stephen Saland (District 41): Dutchess County
  • James Seward (District 51): Greene County, Schoharie County
  • David Valesky (District 49): Cayuga County
  • Dale Volker (District 59): Wyoming County
  • George Winner (District 53): Chemung County

All 13 Senators can find support for ending prison-based gerrymandering right in their own districts.

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