California Assembly passes bill to end prison-based gerrymandering

by Aleks Kajstura, June 1, 2011

California’s bill to end prison-based gerrymandering (AB 420) just passed the Assembly, it now moves on to the Senate.

The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Davis, had previously been approved by the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting. The votes on the bill and discussions of prison-based gerrymandering in California clearly illustrate that this is not a partisan issue. The Los Angeles Sentinel reports that the bill would clarify California electoral law and ensure equal districts regardless of prison populations. Organizations that support the bill include: NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, the League of Women Voters, Drug Policy Alliance, Legal Serves for Prisoners with Children, Friends Committee on Legislation, the Prison Policy Initiative, the Greater Sacramento Urban League, the Advancement Project, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, First AME and the California Black Pastors Association.

While the State works to end prison-based gerrymandering in state redistricting, California counties are taking action in local redistricting efforts. Imperial County studied the issue and decided not to include prison populations in its redistricting data. A resolution to prohibit the use of prison populations in redistricting was just recommended by a County Supervisor in Madera County.

3 Responses

  1. Betty says, 1 week, 4 days after publication:

    prison Population MUST get counted… they are a HUGE expense on taxpayers and by not counting them, you are playing with the numbers in ways that significantly warp reality and budgets. Do NOT make this a race or moral issue.. it is a taxpayers issue.

    1. Peter Wagner says, 1 week, 4 days after publication:

      Hi Betty,

      Changing how (or where) incarcerated people are counted for redistricting purposes won’t affect the distribution of federal or state funds because federal and state funding formulas are never based on state or county redistricting data. Is there a specific impact that you are concerned about?

  2. LA Daily News publishes opinions piece in support of California bill to end prison-based gerrymandering | Prisoners of the Census says, 2 months, 3 weeks after publication:

    […] Yesterday the Los Angeles Daily News published a great opinions piece by Peter Wagner, executive director of the Prison Policy Initiative, and Dale Ho, assistant counsel with the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, in support of California’s Assembly Bill 420 to end prison-based gerrymandering. […]

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  • May 15, 2018:
    Our Policy Analyst Lucius Couloute will be at the LEDA Summit on Race and Inclusion in Holland, Michigan, presenting his research on the challenges and disadvantages people face when they are released from prison. Tickets are available on LEDA’s website.

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