skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Coalition Backs Bill to End Prison Gerrymandering

play audio
Play

Friday, February 12, 2016   

HARTFORD, Conn. - A coalition of organizations wants Connecticut to end the practice of counting prisoners as residents of the towns where the prisons are located. It's known as "prison gerrymandering," and civil-rights advocates say it undermines the principle of "one person, one vote."

Peter Wagner, executive director of the Prison Policy Initiative, said a disproportionate number of incarcerated people come from urban minority communities, but prisons are located in predominately white, rural areas.

"There are state House districts that are 10 or 15 percent incarcerated," he said. "So, every nine people who live near some of the prisons in Enfield are represented in the Legislature as if they were 10 people anywhere else in the state."

The coalition, which includes the Hispanic Federation, the ACLU and the League of Women Voters, has prepared a bill it hopes to see introduced in the state Legislature.

Some lawmakers are concerned that counting prisoners as residents of their home communities rather than where they are imprisoned will deprive their constituents of funds distributed by census count. However, Wagner pointed out that the draft bill specifically states that adjusted redistricting data would not be used to affect any state or federal funding formulas.

"So, this is a bill that's about fair representation for everyone in the state who does not live immediately next to a large prison," he said.

Although people serving time for felony convictions are barred from voting, about half of prisoners in Connecticut are serving short sentences for misdemeanors or are awaiting trial and are eligible to vote by absentee ballot in their home districts.

Bills to end prison gerrymandering have been introduced over the past five years but have never come to a vote in the Legislature. Wagner said he is optimistic that this one will become law.

"Because we're doing it early, there's more people talking about it," he said, "and I think that the Legislature understands this is a problem that they have to fix - and I'd like to think that they want to get ahead of this problem."

Similar bills have been passed in New York, Maryland, Delaware and California.

The proposed bill is online at prisonersofthecensus.org.


get more stories like this via email

more stories
The latest Living Planet Index report finds freshwater migratory fish saw an average 81% collapse in monitored population sizes between 1970 and 2020. This includes massive declines in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Groups in Connecticut are preparing to celebrate World Fish Migration Day on Friday. The biennial event celebrates migratory fish species and their …


Social Issues

play sound

Fewer than 8% of people in Alabama prisons are granted parole when they apply for it. Criminal justice experts got together for a discussion of how …

Social Issues

play sound

A new report is sounding the alarm on Pennsylvania's juvenile-detention capacity challenges, citing understaffing and long wait times for the young …


During Latino Advocacy Week, Hispanic Access Foundation members met with lawmakers to promote equity in the upcoming Farm Bill. (Evelyn Ramirez/Hispanic Access Foundation)

Environment

play sound

It's Latino Advocacy Week in Washington, D.C., and leaders in the Hispanic community are pushing for improvements in the upcoming Farm Bill. The …

Environment

play sound

As Michiganders hit the road this holiday weekend, state lawmakers are brainstorming ways to help close the state's $3.9 billion road funding gap…

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy says a law change, which includes updating the state's public waters list, could provide protections for at least 640 miles of additional waterways across the state. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

What might seem like an under-the-radar administrative task could end up being a lifesaver for Minnesota waterways in need of safeguards against agric…

Social Issues

play sound

Two years ago today, a teenager killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The families of those shot and killed have …

Social Issues

play sound

Amid nationwide labor shortages and high turnover, employment experts say fostering an equitable workplace is key to finding and retaining workers…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021