End Prison-Based Gerrymandering
End Prison-Based Gerrymandering Date and Time: Thursday, May 13, 2010 | 6:00 PM Location: Grand Army Plaza, Central Library, 2nd Floor Meeting Room | Brooklyn, NY - map Join the Statewide Coalition to End Prison-Based Gerrymandering for a Town Hall Meeting with Assembly Member Hakim Jeffries. The Census Bureau counts incarcerated people as residents of the communities where prisons located, as opposed to their home communities. Counting incarcerated people in the wrong place skews legislative representation and the political power of our communities. The Statewide Coalition to End Prison-Based Gerrymandering seeks to eliminate this practice by changing how the state and counties use the Census data for the purpose of legislative redistricting. Visit http://www.correctthecount.org to learn more. Members Include: Common Cause/NY * NAACP Legal Defense Fund * Citizens Union * Demos * The Bronx Defenders * The Drug Policy Alliance * New Kings Democrats * The Center for Law and Social Justice of Medgar Evers College * National Coalition on Black Civic Participation * Citizen Action of New York To receive more information from Demos about prison-based gerrymandering, redistricting, and the Census, send us your contact info.
It doesn't make sense. Let's say you have 100 men from Charlie Rangel's district (the 15th) "living" in Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon. Make it a 1000 if you want. http://latfor.state.ny.us/maps/propcong/fc015.pdf You're saying that all these men will someday be repatriated to their home and therefore they should be counted in Charlies' district. I would suggest that for every man sent back home there will be another man who is being sent to Fishkill. Much more accurate to presume on average the population at Fishkill will remain constant. If you really wanted to get some traction with the general public for this issue instead of these marginalized groups you should appeal to tax paying parents who have sent their children away to live in dorms at a university. Really the same thing.
The New York State Constitution says “no person shall be deemed to have gained or lost a residence, by reason of his or her presence or absence, while... confined in any public prison.” Legally speaking, incarcerated people never left their homes. Counting them in the wrong place dilutes the votes of everyone who doesn't live next to a large prison.
Given the stellar reputation of the NYS Assembly it must be right. Seriously though, It doesn't refute my argument. You will always have a permanent but rotating population of say 10,000 in Fishkill. They cannot vote there but the number could be used to allocate funding for sewer systems, roads and the like. Why should they be counted in their home district? The point of the amendment to the state constitution is to increase population so as not to lose a congressional district but I maintain there will always be a net loss of 10K through incarceration. Actually even more, given the likelihood of parole during which they can't vote either. Not that these kind of people are seriously interested in civil responsibility.
modsquad » Given the stellar reputation of the NYS Assembly it must be right. Seriously though, It doesn't refute my argument. You will always have a permanent but rotating population of say 10,000 in Fishkill. They cannot vote there but the number could be used to allocate funding for sewer systems, roads and the like. Why should they be counted in their home district? The point of the amendment to the state constitution is to increase population so as not to lose a congressional district but I maintain there will always be a net loss of 10K through incarceration. Actually even more, given the likelihood of parole during which they can't vote either. Not that these kind of people are seriously interested in civil responsibility.They can't vote anywhere. They are felons. The right to representation has been lessened to that of any other non-voter. Good to have a count of who lives where so that social services can be properly allocated. Ex-cons get their help through a different avenue, voting and speaking up politically are are not the standard options. It's probably more important than ever to have the cash left behind in the community where the offender will return to, he or she needs all the help they can get when they return":home". I would be curious to see the total population of CH and to see how many eligible voters there are out of that number
http://demos.org/publication.cfm?currentpublicationID=B4D0220D%2D3FF4%2D6C82%2D5B083AA93109C904 A majority of states, including New York, automatically grant voting rights to felons once they have completed their prison and parole terms. However, I'd imagine that even when legally able to vote, the ex prison population doesn't vote. https://parole.state.ny.us/PROGRAMrestoration.asp Item 10 "If you have been convicted of a felony, you lose the right to vote. This right is automatically restored when you complete your maximum sentence or are discharged by the Board of Parole. If you have been issued a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct while on parole, you may register to vote." ...I'm pretty sure districts are legally drawn (aka gerrymandered) not on the basis of how many people vote, but on the basis of how many people live in a district. ...in addition to legislature seats, where people are counted as living also allocates resources that are especially relevant to poor populations (aka 'hoods that generate lots of prisoners): mental health care substance abuse treatment education yada, yada, yada http://www.brooklynda.org/dtap/DTAP.htm somewhat interesting stats: https://parole.state.ny.us/PROGRAMstatistics.asp The hunt for stats on the number of felons stats who were remove from Crown Heghts, and placed in prison is on! ...btw, upon completion of their sentence, felons are paroled to the location where they committed the crime.
Update: Seemingly, the practice of counting prisoners where they are incarcerated was ended. However, some are now trying to reinstate the practice.
round 3,333: A recent Federal Department of Justice ruling affirmed that prisons must be counted in their home districts for the purpose of voting (gerrymandering).
As for the setting of districts, "one man one vote" is the law of the land. The readiness of civic responsibility of any human, whether a felon or non-felon is not to be determined by anyone, even a poster to this thread. The very telling statistic that 4 out of five felons ARE NOT high school graduates speaks volumes to their ability to be (economically) viable citizens. The CFE (Center for Fiscal Equity) ruling demonstrated that NYC districts were systematically short-changed in their apportionment by the legislature of our state over the last 50 years. The death of all of the primary, secondary, and tertiary processing centers that used to be the source of economic engines in central, eastern and western NY in the sixties and seventies, leading to the rise of the prison-industrial complex supplanting those sources of industry as jobs for the folks living there.
Without the counting of prison populations within many upstate districts, there would be less Republicans apportioned to the Senate, and then the balance of the state would (probably) shift to a totally Democratic executive and legislative bodies.
Counting prisoners as living where they originated from, with the proper redistricting, would lead to legislative formulas that shift educational spending back to NYC and upstate urban centers.
For a broader view of the pressure on NY government to resist fairly setting district lines and then apportioning state funds (IMHO), you should view the recent interview of Regent Emeritus Dr. Adelaide Sanford that took place this past Sunday, May 15, on "Like It Is" hosted by Gil Noble. She spoke about the effects of powerful people who don't want to educate african and latino American students properly, especially in the contribution of their cultures to America's history, and the effect this has on their success in life.
The broadcast show has been broken up into seven parts.
When "one man one vote" is fairly applied, the chances for the lower class (poor whites and people of color) to begin to elevate themselves in society will see more success as education isn't purely a function of inherent wealth.
bklyn50, I'm with you on the CFE lawsuit but am going to try to discuss only Prison Gerrymandering here.
(I'm with you on that one too)
more press today:
ALBANY, N.Y. — The fight over whether New York's prisoners should be considered residents where their prison cell is located or their home town just got more heated.
Civil rights groups have filed a legal motion to defend a new state law that counts prisoners as still being residents of their last home town when election districts are redrawn next year.
The law favors urban, mostly Democratic strongholds.
But if inmates in mostly upstate prisoners were counted as residents of their cells, more sparsely populated upstate Republican districts could get more clout, and more state and congressional districts.
Republicans have already sued to block the law.
In one rural upstate district, prisoners account for 12,000 people.
—Copyright 2011 Associated Press
Why_not_31, IMHO they (gerrymandering and "fiscal equity") are inseparable. Going back to the end of the sixties all of the city's newspapers (there may have still been as many as five papers then) were all exhorting the NYC populace that they needed to have all of the new prisons that were being built placed upstate. The tagline was fear-based; fear of the faceless hulking black man escaping from a local prison and wreaking havoc and mayhem. Therefore, the safest thing to do would be to ship them as far, far away as possible. And that is how you get rural districts with prisoners accounting for 12,000 people, where they are counted in the local district's census. The local (upstate) district gets an increase in legislative power, and symbiotically, an increase in government taxed funds returning to their district. When that happens the original fault of an underfunded urban downstate district never gets fixed, and the "perpetual machine" of creating largess in upstate Republican districts remains just that - perpetual.
I was only alive for one year in the 60s, so I wasn't aware that was the rationale given..... but that's interesting stuff re: fear of prison break-outs.
but here's some firsthand stuff: I lived for a year in upstate NY (see your PM for details) in an area that number of incarcerated persons exceeded those who were free.
Needless to say, a lot of people worked in the prison industry. ....when prisons closed, entire towns suffered. It was the early 90's and the city's crack epidemic had the upstate economy booming.
Part of the reason I'm of the perspective that prisoners should be counted in the place they were arrested, is that (by law) they must be released in the same county that they committed the offense.
Despite the fear-mongering you describe, it seems upstate was able to figure out a solution that allowed them to get prison $ (running the thing, as well as the gerrymandering benefits), yet avoid having ex-prisoners settle locally after being released. (those upstate people are kinda smart....)
....but if you and I (and others) are not successful in righting this situation, the twisted side of me would love to give prisoners the right to vote while in prison.
Imagine how powerful their vote would be! Imagine how quickly the small towns would adopt my perspective.
A NYS law that counts prisoners as residing in the place they were arrested (not where they are incarcerated) is passed.[b] Join us for Festivus on Sunday, January 12, 2014 http://brooklynian.com/forum/the-lounge-random-stuff/save-the-date-dec-15-2013-the-9th-annual-brooklynian-festivus?replies=1#post-774296
Update: Despite being able to have their voted counted here in Brooklyn, many obstacles remain.
A Maryland law against this practice was ratified by the SCOTUS this week:
the Court cleared the way to solving a defect in our democracy known as "prison-based gerrymandering."
The U.S. Census Bureau counts incarcerated persons at their prison location, rather than their actual home communities. This makes no sense since inmates are not part of the community where their prisons happen to be housed, and a prison cannot be one's legal residence in most states. The vast majority of states do not allow incarcerated persons to vote. And, even in those that do, inmates are usually required to vote at their legal residence, which is almost always their last pre-incarceration address.
Since legislative districts from Congress down to city council are drawn based upon Census data, the Bureau's flawed counting method significantly distorts fair representation. People who live in districts that contain a prison end up with more voting power than their neighbors in adjacent districts. For example, if we live in adjacent city council districts and if 50% of the population in my district is in a prison, I can have twice as much voting power as you do since we both elect one city councilor but you may have twice as many voters in your jurisdiction—a one-person, one-vote problem. On a statewide level, the practice particularly harms urban communities and communities of color that disproportionately contain the home residences of incarcerated persons. But, as the city council example shows, prison-based gerrymandering actually denies fair representation to anyone who doesn’t happen to live in a district containing a large prison.
Four states have passed laws that address this problem in one way or another—New York, Delaware, California, and Maryland. Maryland's groundbreaking "No Representation Without Population Act" counts incarcerated persons as residents of their legal home addresses for purposes of congressional redistricting, as well as for state and local redistricting. The law was upheld unanimously by a three-judge District Court and then appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Today, the Court summarily affirmed the Maryland District Court, upholding Maryland's forward-looking law.
This means that states across the country are free to move forward to solve prison-based gerrymandering. And, it's one more reason that the U.S. Census Bureau should change its method of counting prison populations, saving 46 remaining states the trouble of solving a national problem in a piecemeal fashion.
Fight white guilt and injustice by smoking tax free guilt free Reservation Smokes or go gamble in a Native Casino.
I like to stick it to The Man, The Man happens to be Liberal in NYC(power Structure).
Here's a short film (about 15 minutes) about a guy who went to prison and has since turned his life around. As a result of knowing the film maker, I'd love to know what viewers think:
It has been a good week.
Another friend just got a story published about prison life (and afterward) in Gawker.