Our goal is to educate people about Prison Gerrymandering and to end the practice in Michigan.

For the purposes of redistricting, Michigan counts incarcerated people at their place of confinement rather than in their home communities. This counting method is known as Prison Gerrymandering, and it distorts democracy. Prison gerrymandering siphons political power into less-populated rural areas where prisons are located, and away from the urban communities where people would return to.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Prison Gerrymandering?

With prison gerrymandering, individuals in prison are counted as residents of their place of confinement rather than their home communities. Because incarcerated individuals are often bussed far away from home, this practice corrupts the population count of the districts and can result in unfair representation and political influence. By artificially inflating the populations of certain communities, prison gerrymandering gives true residents of prison districts greater political clout at the expense of everyone else. This is not only unfair, but goes against the fundamental notion that we all have an equal voice in government.

How does prison gerrymandering affect Michigan?

In Michigan, many prisons are located in rural areas, where the population is generally smaller. Incarcerated individuals in these prisons are disproportionately counted as residents of these districts, giving them more representation in government and voting. Because prisoners in Michigan cannot vote, their voice is effectively assigned to the local rural population. Most people in Michigan prisons come from urban areas and have a minority racial or ethnic identity. This means that communities of color are politically disadvantaged as voting power is transferred to rural white communities.

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Take Action

  • Sign-on to our statement to elected officials and other workforce policy decision-makers using this form.
  • Join our Prison Gerrymandering team, by Contacting VAAC.

and other resources across the Web

Article: Pennsylvania ends prison gerrymandering.