Prison-based gerrymandering is over in Terre Haute, Indiana

City Council votes unanimously to exclude the prison population for redistricting purposes.

by Leah Sakala, May 11, 2012

Tribune Star

The Tribune-Star reports good news for democracy in Terre Haute, Indiana:

Terre Haute is joining hundreds of other communities with big prison populations by voting to remove those prisoners when drawing legislative districts.

At the urging of the city’s legal department, the City Council voted unanimously Thursday evening to exclude the approximately 3,200 federal inmates in the city from being counted when officials draw new city council district boundaries this year. The move will allow each district to have approximately the same number of eligible voters, a redistricting priority.

The City Council’s decision is especially good news given the federal prison’s ballooning population growth over the last decade. Because the prison nearly doubled in size since the last redistricting cycle, the distortion of prison-based gerrymandering would have been particularly dramatic this time around: two people who live in the district that contains the prison could have had as much say in city affairs as three people in any other district.

Moving forward, residents of the city council district with the prison will no longer be granted unwarranted additional political clout at the expense of all other residents.

Way to go, Terre Haute!

4 responses:

  1. […] I’ve been writing a lot about Terre Haute, Indiana lately. Most recently, I shared a Tribune-Star article with the good news that the city recently joined the majority of counties and municipalities with large prisons when city councilors unanimously decided to abolish prison-based gerrymandering. […]

  2. […] the the City of Madison, Indiana follow in Terre Haute’s footsteps to avoid prison-based […]

  3. […] seat, Terre Haute. When Terre Haute redistricted last year, it avoided prison gerrymandering by excluding incarcerated populations reported at the Federal Correctional […]

  4. […] County Indiana is following the lead of its county seat by ending prison gerrymandering. The Tribune Star reports that the Commissioners of Vigo County […]

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