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Lawmakers want to end “prison gerrymandering”

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   Some Michigan lawmakers want to end what they call “prison gerrymandering.”

The US Census counts prisoners as part of the population where the prisons are located.

Supporters of the legislation say the practice can unfairly increase population counts in some political districts and leads to those districts holding disproportionate power.

Democratic State Senator Sylvia Santana introduced a bill that would require the state count prisoners at their pre-incarceration address when drawing political districts.

“Those individuals that may be representing those communities... if it wasn’t for the prison population they may not necessarily have a seat.”

Data from the Prison Policy Initiative, a policy group opposed to mass criminalization, found three Michigan house districts drawn after the 2010 census have prison populations that make up five percent or more of the total population in those districts.