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

Shapefile of Massachusetts correctional facility counts presented to redistricting chairs

by Peter Wagner, June 22, 2011

Last night at an event in Mattapan, I presented the chairs of the Massachusetts Joint Special Joint Committee on Redistricting with a shapefile showing each correctional facility in the state as it was counted by the 2010 Census. The data is the same as the table I presented in my May 31 testimony in Greenfield Massachusetts, but the format is different as it can be imported directly in to redistricting software. The purpose of the data is to make the legislature aware, when drawing State Senate and State House districts, of which populations were incarcerated in a particular block but were actually residents of other parts of the state.

I’m making the file publicly here in the hopes that it will be of use to redistricting advocates in Massachusetts. (Advocates in other states can use our national shapefile and our correctional facility locator.)

For more detail about how and why the legislature should take the prison populations in to account when drawing the districts, see my May 31 testimony How Massachusetts can avoid prison-based gerrymandering in three simple steps.

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