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Connecticut Could Pass Bill For More Equitable Counting Of Prison Inmates

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Matthias Müller
/
Flickr

A bill to block a controversial method of counting prison inmates on the census may be close to passing in Connecticut. 

It’s called prison gerrymandering — inmates are counted for the census in the voting district where they’re incarcerated, not the place they call home. Claudine Fox is with the ACLU of Connecticut.

“The communities that incarcerated folks call home — where their families live, where their children go to school, and where they’ll eventually return to at the end of their sentence — they receive disproportionately less representation, political power and influence than those in the prison districts,” Fox said.

The bill passed a key committee this week, allowing it to go to a vote before the General Assembly. It’s the first time the bill has cleared the committee — it’s been proposed at least three times since 2011.

The bill has the support of more than 20 state lawmakers, along with Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. Ten other states have banned the practice, including New York.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.