I need your help. 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.

Can you help us continue the fight? All gifts made this year will be automatically matched by other donors. Thank you.

Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate

Virginia

The U.S. Census Bureau counts incarcerated people where they are confined not where they are from. Using these counts to draw state and county legislative districts enhances the weight of a vote cast by people who live near prisons at the expense of everyone else in the state or county.

Legislation

Virginia has already taken some steps in the right direction, but further legislation is necessary to end prison gerrymandering in the state. The state's House of Delegates and Senate districts are still drawn based on Census population data that tabulate incarcerated people as if they were residents of the prison location.

Legislation for state districts

The state's House of Delegates and Senate districts are still drawn based on Census population data that tabulate incarcerated people as if they were residents of the prison location. But the state is starting to tackle this problem next. For example, legislation was introduced for the 2015 session: SB 765, introduced by Senator John Edwards as chief patron, with Senator Janet Howell as co-patron, and HB 1465, "Population data to be used in redistricting" introduced by Delegate Sam Rasoul as chief patron, with Delegate David B. Albo as chief co-patron, and Delegate Patrick A. Hope as patron, which were prefiled in December 2014, seek to adjust Census data to count incarcerated people at their home address for redistricting purposes.

Legislation for local governments

Until recently, some county and city governments had no choice but to include phantom residents in their districts simply because the Census tabulated incarcerated people as if they were residents of the prison location. In 2012 all cities and counties were finally given a choice to stop prison gerrymandering their own districts:

Leaders in Virginia

It's impossible to include everyone who is working toward ending prison gerrymandering in Virginia, but if you are looking to get involved, these are some of the people and organizations you might want to contact first:

  • - League of Women Voters of Arlington, Virginia

Endorsers

  • The Roanoke Times (editorial , January 5, 2012)
  • Unanimous resolution of the Board of Supervisors of Prince George County, Virginia, calling on the state to amend the state law that requires the county to use prison populations when redistricting to detriment of county democracy, November 23, 2010

Testimony and Letters

More information

Press coverage

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