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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Massachusetts’ Joint Redistricting Committee learning about prison-based gerrymandering

by Aleks Kajstura, May 18, 2011  

Massachusetts is in the midst of redrawing legislative districts for the next decade. Brenda Wright, Director of the Democracy Program at Demos, testified about prison-based gerrymandering before the Before the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting of the Massachusetts General Court. The extensive and thorough testimony included this summary of the problem:

Because of the rise in incarceration rates, the practice of allocating incarcerated persons to prison districts substantially skews redistricting. As shown by research conducted by the Prison Policy Initiative, without using prison populations as padding, five Massachusetts House districts would not have met minimum constitutional population requirements after the 2000 Census.

Kevin Peterson provides more background on redistricting issues facing Massachusetts in a recent CommonWealth Magazine article.

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