Indiana local officials don’t want districts skewed by prisons
by Aleks Kajstura, May 31, 2011
DePauw University students created a great introductory video to the issue of prison-based gerrymandering. The students’ interviews with local officials in Indiana reveal bi-partisan and wide-spread support for ending prison-based gerrymandering:
As the video shows, prison-based gerrymandering in Indiana’s local governments is often inadvertent and results from confusion about the choices available to counties and municipalities.
Large prison populations can easily skew political power within a city. Terre Haute’s prison population, for example, nearly doubled over the past decade. Unless the council takes that into account when drawing districts, it faces drawing a district where 1/3 of the population are non-residents currently held at the local prisons.
As counties and municipalities across Indiana prepare to redistrict, they should join the over 100 local governments nationwide that avoid prison-based gerrymandering by adjusting their redistricting data.