David Skolnick asks, “Are prisoners Youngstown residents?”
A column in The Vindicator shows how prison gerrymandering could undermine local democracy in a Ohio city.
by Leah Sakala, August 16, 2013
Check out David Skolnick’s must-read column in today’s issue of The Vindicator about how the Youngstown, Ohio city council can avoid prison gerrymandering.
As he explains:
The census considers prisoners to be residents of where they are incarcerated, even though except for some at the county jail, none of them can vote, and members of council don’t really represent them…
When officials with the Prison Policy Initiative read in The Vindicator about Youngstown City Council redistricting the seven wards to make each more equitable, they pointed out that counting inmates doesn’t really balance the populations in the wards.
Mr. Skolnick says that our concerns “merits serious discussion.” But will the Youngstown city council heed our advice and join the 220+ other local governments that refuse to let the Census Bureau’s prison count skew local democracy? We’ll see.