Prison-based gerrymandering is over in Terre Haute, Indiana

by Leah Sakala, May 11, 2012

Tribune Star

The Tribune-Star reports good news for democracy in Terre Haute, Indiana:

Terre Haute is joining hundreds of other communities with big prison populations by voting to remove those prisoners when drawing legislative districts.

At the urging of the city’s legal department, the City Council voted unanimously Thursday evening to exclude the approximately 3,200 federal inmates in the city from being counted when officials draw new city council district boundaries this year. The move will allow each district to have approximately the same number of eligible voters, a redistricting priority.

The City Council’s decision is especially good news given the federal prison’s ballooning population growth over the last decade. Because the prison nearly doubled in size since the last redistricting cycle, the distortion of prison-based gerrymandering would have been particularly dramatic this time around: two people who live in the district that contains the prison could have had as much say in city affairs as three people in any other district.

Moving forward, residents of the city council district with the prison will no longer be granted unwarranted additional political clout at the expense of all other residents.

Way to go, Terre Haute!

4 Responses

  1. Tribune-Star editorial board is glad to see the end of prison-based gerrymandering in Terre Haute, Ind. | Prisoners of the Census says, 6 days, 2 hours after publication:

    […] I’ve been writing a lot about Terre Haute, Indiana lately. Most recently, I shared a Tribune-Star article with the good news that the city recently joined the majority of counties and municipalities with large prisons when city councilors unanimously decided to abolish prison-based gerrymandering. […]

  2. Madison, Ind. should seize opportunity to end prison-based gerrymandering | Prisoners of the Census says, 4 months, 3 weeks after publication:

    […] the the City of Madison, Indiana follow in Terre Haute’s footsteps to avoid prison-based […]

  3. Vigo County Illinois redistricting case implicates prison gerrymandering | Prisoners of the Census says, 9 months, 4 weeks after publication:

    […] seat, Terre Haute. When Terre Haute redistricted last year, it avoided prison gerrymandering by excluding incarcerated populations reported at the Federal Correctional […]

  4. Vigo County, Ind. redistricts, avoids prison gerrymandering | Prisoners of the Census says, 11 months after publication:

    […] County Indiana is following the lead of its county seat by ending prison gerrymandering. The Tribune Star reports that the Commissioners of Vigo County […]

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  • May 15, 2018:
    Our Policy Analyst Lucius Couloute will be at the LEDA Summit on Race and Inclusion in Holland, Michigan, presenting his research on the challenges and disadvantages people face when they are released from prison. Tickets are available on LEDA’s website.

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