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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.

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Lee County, Illinois

According to the 2000 Census, Lee County, Illinois has a population of 36,062 people. Of those, 33,422 (92%) are White, 1,772 (3%) are Black, and 1,147 (3%) are Latino[1]. However, 2,266 (or 6% of the 36,062 people) are not residents by choice but are people in prison.

Even though prisoners cannot participate in the local community, the Census Bureau nevertheless counts them as residents of the county where they are incarcerated.

A more accurate description would not include the prisoners. This would give Lee County a population of 33,796 with a demographic that is 96% White, 1% Black, and 3% Latino.

Reported in
Census 2000
Total 36,062 2,266 33,796
White 33,422 846 32,576
Black 1,772 1,318 454
Latino 1,147 270 877


[1]The numbers for Whites, Blacks and Latinos may not add up to the total number because we have not included racial groups other than Whites and Blacks and because the Census Bureau considers "Latino" to be an ethnicity, not a race. Most of the people reported as being Latino are also counted as being White or Black.

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