Peter Wagner, Executive Director
I need your help. For more than a decade, the Prison Policy Initiative has been at the forefront of the movement to expose how mass incarceration undermines our national welfare. With a lot of hard work and generous support from a small network of individual donors, we've won major civil rights victories in local governments, state legislatures and even the Supreme Court. But our long-term viability depends on people like you investing in our work.

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Phantom constituents in the Empire State: How outdated Census Bureau methodology burdens New York counties

By Peter Wagner, Meghan Rudy, Ellie Happel and William Goldberg
July 18, 2007

The impact of prison-based gerrymandering on the New York State legislature is now well-documented. But what do the rural counties do about prison populations with their own county districts?

  • Most of New York’s rural counties with large prisons reject the Census and fairly apportion political power within the county on the basis of actual — not prison — populations.
  • There are 5 counties with a district where at least 20% of its population is derived from prisoners.
  • The Chair of the Livingston County Board of Supervisors uses the prison population in his town to get more than twice as much political clout as he is entitled to.

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