Help End Prison Gerrymandering Prison gerrymandering funnels political power away from urban communities to legislators who have prisons in their (often white, rural) districts. More than a decade ago, the Prison Policy Initiative put numbers on the problem and sparked the movement to end prison gerrymandering.

Can you help us continue the fight? Thank you.

—Peter Wagner, Executive Director

North Country Public Radio identifies the biggest impact of end to prison-based gerrymandering

Impact of ending prison-based gerrymandering in New York's North Country.

by Peter Wagner, August 6, 2010

David Sommerstein on North Country Public Radio discusses the impact of New York’s new law ending prison-based gerrymandering.

Notably, Senator Aubertine explains why, although he’s not a proponent, he voted for the budget bill that included the elimination of prison-based gerrymandering. He explains that state and federal funding will not be affected. He goes on to say that 3,000 incarcerated people in his a district of 300,000 people amounts to “about 1%” and a very little impact.

Of course, the impact will be higher in the 45th Senate district which contains more prisons than any other district.

But the story singles out for “the biggest impact” two North Country counties, St. Lawrence and Jefferson, which were the only ones in the region that included the prison populations when drawing their legislative districts. All other counties in the region rejected the Census counts. St. Lawrence County used to exclude the prison populations but reversed course in a bitter partisan battle after the last Census.

In fact, one county district in St. Lawrence is 25% incarcerated. That’s a problem, says long-time reform advocate, St. Lawrence County Legislator Tedra Cobb. Leaving prisoners out of the districts is simple democracy. Districts should be based on equal numbers of community residents, and the people in the prisons are not a part of St. Lawrence County.

Stay Informed

Get the latest updates:

Tweet this page Donate Now hiring:
Digital Communications Strategist