State Senate votes to end 'prison gerrymandering'; bill heads to House

Inmates gave one House district 10% more people, at the expense of cities like Bridgeport.

News 12 Staff

May 5, 2021, 9:26 PM

Updated 1,110 days ago

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Connecticut lawmakers are moving forward with a major change to voting districts.
Right now, prison inmates are counted where they are incarcerated, which can be a big boost for rural towns.
Enfield is home to two prisons.
Inmates gave one House district 10% more people, at the expense of cities like Bridgeport.
The state Senate voted Wednesday to end so-called prison gerrymandering.
The measure now moves to the state House of Representatives.
"If you don't want them when they come out, you shouldn't have them when they're in. And let's not act like the communities we're talking about really want these people," said Democrat state Sen. Gary Winfield.
"These inmates reside in these facilities. Their physical bodies reside there. This is where they primarily eat and sleep," said Republican state Sen. John Kissel.
Kissel, who has five prisons in his district, says those towns bear major costs housing inmates.
“The Senate’s passage of S.B. 753 is a tremendous victory,” said Corrie Betts, Criminal Justice Chair of the NAACP CT. “Prison gerrymandering operates as a modern day Three-Fifths Clause by disenfranchising Black communities. We are disappointed that the amended bill excludes incarcerated people serving life sentences without the possibility of release from its coverage and continue to stand on behalf of all incarcerated people. Nonetheless, prison gerrymandering is an intolerable, racist practice, and we applaud the Senate for taking action to abolish it. It’s now up to the House to do the same.”


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