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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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Baltimore supplies the prisoners, but doesn’t get the prisons

by Peter Wagner, August 11, 2003

maryland map

There is a tremendous disparity in Maryland between the incarceration rates in each county. Baltimore City’s incarceration rate of 2,420 per 100,000 residents may be the highest incarceration rate of a city in the country. (By comparison, in 1950 the Soviet gulags held 1,423 prisoners per 100,000 residents.) Although the bulk of the prisoners come from Baltimore City, most of the prisons are constructed far from the city.

The enumeration of prisoners from Baltimore as if they were residents of these prison communities decreases the political power of Baltimore and increases that of the prison regions. As a result, Baltimore does not get the legislative attention it so desperately needs.

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