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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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Perry County, Illinois

According to the 2000 Census, Perry County, Illinois has a population of 23,094 people. Of those, 20,681 (87%) are White, 1,851 (4%) are Black, and 406 (1%) are Latino[1]. However, 2,193 (or 10% of the 23,094 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 Perry County a population of 20,901 with a demographic that is 96% White, 2% Black, and 1% Latino.

Reported in
Census 2000
Total 23,094 2,193 20,901
White 20,681 554 20,127
Black 1,851 1,430 421
Latino 406 210 196


[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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