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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Gerrymandering: the movie

by Aleks Kajstura, October 14, 2010  

Gerrymandering is great!

Gerrymandering, the movie, that is. Jeff Reichert’s new documentary, Gerrymandering has a segment on prison-based gerrymandering featuring the findings of the Prison Policy Initiative, and our Executive Director, Peter Wagner.

Some reviews from critics more impartial than us:

“Riveting.” – Bob Mondello, NPR All Things Considered

“An exceptionally entertaining film.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine

“Every American voter should see this.” – Paul Constant, The Stranger

“****. If you care about the future of America, see this movie.” – Matt Thomas, NY Examiner

“Cinematic – in the best way – all the way through.” – Howard Feinstein, Screen International

“A film seemingly made for Jon Stewart’s ‘Restoring Sanity’ movement.” – Stan Hall, The Oregonian

The once-obscure issue of prison-based gerrymandering has come a long way over the past decade. Gerrymandering‘s coverage of prison-based gerrymandering even made it’s way into Moviefone’s musings about the nature of documentaries!


In addition to one-time screenings, the movie is going to be officially openes in limited release tomorrow, October 15, 2010. We have a supplemental factsheet [PDF] available for download, if you’re going to see the movie feel free to print some off and hand them out!

2 Responses

  1. Alternative Spring Break at the Prison Policy Initiative | Prison Policy Initiative says, 3 years, 5 months after publication:

    […] This week, I was able to work on a project explaining one way in which exploitation of incarcerated people undermines the democratic rights of those of us not in prisons- Prison gerrymandering. Prison gerrymandering lessens the voice we have in our government. When the area each elected official represents is distributed based on population, people in prisons are sometimes used to boost numbers in certain areas even though the prisoners have no vote in government. This means that people who live near a prison get more of a say because the representative they elect is not serving the prison population and so each vote cast by the actual residents of the district is counted more. […]

  2. Meeting new PPI board members: Ruth Greenwood | Prison Policy Initiative says, 3 years, 5 months after publication:

    […] through its work to end prison based gerrymandering. I saw Peter Wagner explain the concept in the movie Gerrymandering, and couldn’t believe that a modern democracy with access to all sorts of technical data had […]

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