Wisconsin fact sheets updated for coming redistricting
by Aleks Kajstura, March 16, 2011
Wisconsin has some new prison-based gerrymandering problems to contend with in its upcoming redistricting effort. We updated our fact sheets on Wisconsin to highlight current and upcoming potential problems.
A new prison can create potential problems that a county may not yet be aware of. For example, the Census Bureau just counted 1025 people incarcerated at the New Lisbon Correctional Institution as residents of New Lisbon in Juneau County. The county is about to redraw its 21 County Board of Supervisors districts, so that each district contains about 1,270 people.
Unless the Juneau County Board decides to reject the Census Bureau’s prison count, the district that includes the New Lisbon Correctional Institution would be 80% prisoners. Every resident near the prison would be given as much say over the future of the county as 5 residents in every other district. Giving a small group of people 5 times as much political power as other residents because they happen to have a prison nearby isn’t just unfair; it violates state and federal law.
This redistricting cycle also provides a great opportunity for counties with existing prison-based district distortions to ensure exclude prison populations and ensure that for the coming decade, everyone has an equal say in county government, whether they live next to a prison or not.