“There are many ways to hijack political power. One of them is to draw state or city legislative districts around large prisons — and pretend that the inmates are legitimate constituents.”—Brent Staples

What’s new

Is prison gerrymandering new to you?

Welcome! We wrote a guide to the resources on this website.

Progress towards ending prison gerrymandering

The Prison Policy Initiative launched a movement to protect our democracy from the prison industrial complex. And we’re winning; 49.6% of US residents now live in a state that has formally rejected prison gerrymandering. Here is the progress at a glance:

map showing state and local government that are taking action to end prison-based gerrymandering

The national movement against prison gerrymandering began in 2001 when the founders of the Prison Policy Initiative discovered that the sheer size of the prison population was combining with an outdated Census Bureau rule to seriously distort how political decisions are made in this country. We put numbers to the problem and suggested solutions in a series of reports and sparked a national movement.

Since then, we’ve made tremendous progress towards ending prison gerrymandering:

Don’t miss two of our resources:

Ending Prison Gerrymandering: How state legislators can ensure accurate & equitable redistricting
cover of SiX and Prison Policy Initiative guide to ending prison gerrymandering
by Prison Policy Initiative and SiX
  No, prison gerrymandering doesn't reallocate $1,838 per person
image of dollar sign
by Aleks Kajstura

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