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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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Polk County, Texas

According to the 2000 Census, Polk County, Texas has a population of 41,133 people. Of those, 32,760 (78%) are White, 5,416 (12%) are Black, and 3,861 (7%) are Latino[1]. However, 2,996 (or 7% of the 41,133 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 Polk County a population of 38,137 with a demographic that is 83% White, 10% Black, and 8% Latino.

Reported in
Census 2000
Total 41,133 2,996 38,137
White 32,760 1,281 31,479
Black 5,416 1,618 3,798
Latino 3,861 688 3,173


[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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