Aug 6, 2010

An End to Prison Gerrymandering?

On Tuesday, the state Legislature approved a measure that would require that inmates be counted as residents of their home instead of in the areas where they are imprisoned. The bill has yet to be approved by Governor David Paterson.

Supporters of the bill argue that the current practice amounts to prison gerrymandering and violates the one person, one vote directives under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. According to the New York Law Journal's article, "State Set to End Policy of Prison Gerrymandering" the Director of the Democracy Program at Demos, Brenda Wright, commented, " Prison-based gerrymandering is wrong because incarcerated persons do not make their home in the prison town in any meaningful sense; they are not permitted to interact with the prison town and they almost always return to their pre-incarceration community upon completion of sentence, on average within 34 months."For more on the implications of the bill if passed, check out the Wall Street Journal's article, "Under New Bill NYC's convicts Won't Pad Upstate Districts."