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Prison gerrymandering gives extra political power to legislators who have prisons in their districts. We put numbers on the problem and sparked a movement to protect our democratic process from the overgrown prison system.

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Lea County, New Mexico

According to the 2000 Census, Lea County, New Mexico has a population of 55,511 people. Of those, 37,263 (67%) are White, 2,426 (4%) are Black, and 22,010 (40%) are Latino[1]. However, 1,270 (or 2% of the 55,511 people) are not residents by choice but are people in prison.

Even though prisoners cannot participate in the local community, the Census Bureau nevertheless counts them as residents of the county where they are incarcerated.

A more accurate description would not include the prisoners. This would give Lea County a population of 54,241 with a demographic that is 67% White, 4% Black, and 39% Latino.

Reported in
Census 2000
Incarcerated
population
Actual
population
Total 55,511 1,270 54,241
White 37,263 802 36,461
Black 2,426 182 2,244
Latino 22,010 690 21,320


Notes:

[1]The numbers for Whites, Blacks and Latinos may not add up to the total number because we have not included racial groups other than Whites and Blacks and because the Census Bureau considers "Latino" to be an ethnicity, not a race. Most of the people reported as being Latino are also counted as being White or Black.

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