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Prison gerrymandering gives extra political power to legislators who have prisons in their districts. We put numbers on the problem and sparked a movement to protect our democratic process from the overgrown prison system.

Can you help us continue the fight? All gifts made this year will be automatically matched by other donors. Thank you.

Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate

The impact on local democracy

Pointing out the jail on the City of Ocala redistricting mapRural residents who live in the same community as a prison, but not in its district, have their voting power severely diluted. Many communities across the nation have taken the initiative to correct the problem themselves by manually correcting flawed Census data. Seven states (Colorado, Mississippi, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, and New York) encourage or even require local governments to exclude prison populations during redistricting.

The best introduction to the impact of the prison miscount on local government is a letter that three residents of rural Franklin County, New York, sent to the Census Bureau in 2004.

We identified prison-based gerrymandering within counties, cities and towns, and even one school district, listed below for districts drawn after the 2010 and 2000 Censuses. We're still working on the list of districts drawn after the 2010 Census, but if you know of other places to be added to either set of lists, please contact us.

Prison-based gerrymandering in counties, cities and towns after the 2010 Census

Counties

  • Alabama: Barbour, Bibb, Elmore, Limestone, Talladega
  • Arizona: Graham, Mohave, Navajo, Pinal
  • Arkansas: Chicot, Dallas, Izard, Jackson, Jefferson, Miller, Mississippi
  • California: Marin, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Solano
  • Florida: Baker, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Hardee, Hendry, Jefferson, Santa Rosa, Sumter, Union, Walton
  • Georgia: Appling, Augusta-Richmond Consolidated Government, Baldwin, Chatham, Clayton, Coffee, Decatur, Dougherty, Douglas, Emanuel, Evans, Hart, Jefferson, Lamar, Lee, Long, Lowndes, Mitchell, Modoc, Monroe, Montgomery, Richmond, Sumter, Treutlen, Troup, Ware, Wayne, Wilkes
  • Idaho: Fremont, Idaho
  • Illinois: Clinton, Kane, Kankakee, LaSalle, Macon, Peoria, St. Clair, Tazewell, Vermilion, Winnebago
  • Kansas: Ellsworth, Norton, Reno
  • Kentucky: Clay, Elliott, Franklin, Fulton, Henderson, Lyon, Shelby
  • Louisiana (Parishes): Allen, Beauregard, Catahoula, Franklin, Jackson, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Orleans, Ouachita, Rapides, Union, Washington, Webster, West Baton Rouge
  • Michigan: Washtenaw
  • Minnesota: Carlton, Chisago, Pine, Rice, Sherburne, Waseca
  • Missouri: Audrain, Callaway, Cooper, Livingston, Mississippi, Moniteau, Texas, Washington
  • Montana: Deer Lodge County
  • New Mexico: Cibola
  • New York: Columbia, Erie, Fulton, Saratoga, Ulster, Wayne
  • North Carolina: Anson, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Pamilco, Pasquotank, Robeson
  • Oklahoma: Atoka, Beckham, Caddo, Canadian, Cleveland, Comanche, Craig, El Reno, Grady, Harmon, Hughes, Jackson, Jefferson, Kiowa, Le Flore, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Osage, Payne, Pittsburg, Pottawatomie, Tillman, Tulsa, Woodward
  • Pennsylvania: Erie
  • South Carolina: Clarendon, Dorchester, Greenwood, Greenville, Lancaster, Richland, Williamsburg
  • Tennessee: Bledsoe, Davidson, Hardeman, Hancock, Hickman, Johnson, Lake, Lauderdale, Morgan, Tipton, Wayne
  • Texas: Brazos, Caldwell, Gray, Jefferson, Limestone, Parker
  • Virginia: Augusta, Bland, Buchanan, Buckingham, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Goochland, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, New Kent, Nottoway, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Pulaski, Scott, Southampton, Tazewell, Wise
  • Washington: Grays Harbor, Mason, Walla Walla
  • Wisconsin: Adams, Chippewa, Columbia, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Franklin, Jackson, Juneau, Racine, Sawyer, Sheboygan, Waushara, Winnebago

Cities and Towns

  • Alabama: Bay Minette, Gadsden, Jasper, Opelika
  • Arizona: Town of Buckeye, Globe
  • Arkansas: Pine Bluff
  • Delaware: Wilmington
  • Florida: Ocala, Panama City, Pompano Beach
  • Georgia: Abbeville, Carrollton, Covington, Cratersville, Douglasville, Lakeland, Lovejoy, Lumpkin, McDonough, Monroe, Moultrie, Perry, Unadilla
  • Illinois: Belleville, Chicago, Kankakee, Pittsfield, Rockford, Waukegan, Wheaton
  • Iowa: Clarinda, Mount Pleasant
  • Louisiana: Alexandria, Town of Farmerville, Lake Charles, Natchitoches, New Orleans
  • Massachusetts: Billerica, Dartmouth, Dedham, Framingham, Gardner, Ludlow, Plymouth, Walpole
  • Minnesota: Elk River, Hastings, Rochester, St. Cloud, Waseca
  • Missouri: Boonville, Chillicothe, Fulton, Monieau, Pacific, St. Joseph
  • Montana: Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, Shelby
  • Nevada: Carson
  • New Jersey: Kearny, Newark, Trenton, Woodbury
  • New Hampshire: Concord
  • New Mexico: Farmington, Grants, Hobbs
  • North Carolina: Clinton, Goldsboro, Lumberton
  • Ohio: Mansfield, Marion, Marysville, Youngstown
  • Oklahoma: Chickasha, Lawton, McAlester, Woodward
  • Oregon: Pendelton, Salem
  • Rhode Island: Cranston
  • South Carolina: Columbia, North Charleston
  • South Dakota: Sioux Falls
  • Tennessee: Gallatin, Memphis, Springfield
  • Texas: Lockhart, Marlin
  • Utah: South Salt Lake
  • Virginia: Suffolk
  • Wisconsin: Boscobel, Chippewa Falls, Elkhorn, Fitchburg, Juneau, Racine, Waupun
  • Wyoming: Rawlins

Boards of Education

  • California: Richland School District
  • Florida: Columbia County School District, Hardee County School District, Hendry County School District, Walton County School District
  • Louisiana: Washington Parish School Board
  • North Carolina: Anson County, Caswell County, Franklin County, Granville County, Pamilco County

Prison-based gerrymandering in counties, cities and towns after the 2000 Census

Counties

Cities and Towns

  • Wyoming: Rawlins
  • School district:

    * These jurisdictions currently don't have prison-based gerrymandering problems, often because the prison is newer than the districts drawn after the 2000 Census, but unless action was taken, they are likely to have prison-based gerrymandering problems in their next round of redistricting, check the 2010 list or our page of governments that avoided prison-based gerrymandering for updates.

    If the town or city you are interested in does not appear on the above lists, it may be on our list of places that draw fair districts by excluding the prison population. You can also use the step-by-step guide in our Democracy Toolkit to look for prison-based gerrymandering yourself.

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