LA Daily News op-ed: Prison census bill would get redistricting right next time

by Leah Sakala, August 23, 2011  

This morning the Los Angeles Daily News published a great op-ed by Peter Wagner, executive director of the Prison Policy Initiative, and Dale Ho, assistant counsel with the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, in support of California’s Assembly Bill 420 to end prison-based gerrymandering.

After providing a detailed overview about how prison-based gerrymandering distorts our democracy and “makes a mockery of the ‘one person, one vote’ principle,” the authors explain that the California Senate should pass AB 420 to make sure that prison-based gerrymandering doesn’t mar California redistricting next time around:

It is too late to solve this problem during the current redistricting cycle, which requires that new maps be finalized shortly. But legislation is currently headed to the State Senate floor that would make sure that prison-based gerrymandering does not continue to distort our democratic process during future redistricting cycles: Assembly Bill 420, sponsored by Assemblymember Mike Davis, which calls on the Citizens Redistricting Commission to allocate incarcerated individuals to their home communities during future redistricting cycles.

This legislation will not affect funding for federal or state programs; it simply seeks to ensure that our legislators each represent the same number of constituents, so that everyone is represented equally in the political process.

Corrective legislation in California, the nation’s largest and arguably most important state, would not only solve this problem here, it could pave the road for nationwide change. The Senate should pass AB 420, and take a stand for basic principles of fairness and equality in the redistricting process.

The California Senate is scheduled to vote on AB 420 this week.

Meet us

  • February 5, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be in New York for the reception of the exhibition, Prison Obscura, curated by Prison Photography editor Pete Brook. The exhibition includes Prison Map by Josh Begley and Proliferation by Paul Rucker, both of which rely on Prison Policy Initiative data to show the scale of mass incarceration. The event will be held at Parsons School of Design from 6:30-8:30pm and a Curator’s Talk by Pete Brooks at 5:45pm.
  • February 6, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be at Yale for a panel presentation at the Equality Re-Imagined Conference.
  • February 20, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner, Board Member Amanda Alexander and Advisory Board Member Bruce Reilly will present on a panel entitled “The fight against mass incarceration: Combining litigation and policy work for systemic change” at RebLaw at Yale Law School from 3-4:30pm.
  • February 24, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be speaking to the American Constitution Society Chapter at UConn School of Law at 12:30pm. Topics will include mass incarceration, prison gerrymandering, sentencing enhancement zones and more.

Not near you?
Invite us to your city, college or organization.

Events

  • February 5, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be in New York for the reception of the exhibition, Prison Obscura, curated by Prison Photography editor Pete Brook. The exhibition includes Prison Map by Josh Begley and Proliferation by Paul Rucker, both of which rely on Prison Policy Initiative data to show the scale of mass incarceration. The event will be held at Parsons School of Design from 6:30-8:30pm and a Curator’s Talk by Pete Brooks at 5:45pm.
  • February 6, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be at Yale for a panel presentation at the Equality Re-Imagined Conference.
  • February 20, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner, Board Member Amanda Alexander and Advisory Board Member Bruce Reilly will present on a panel entitled “The fight against mass incarceration: Combining litigation and policy work for systemic change” at RebLaw at Yale Law School from 3-4:30pm.
  • February 24, 2015:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be speaking to the American Constitution Society Chapter at UConn School of Law at 12:30pm. Topics will include mass incarceration, prison gerrymandering, sentencing enhancement zones and more.

Not near you?
Invite us to your city, college or organization.

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