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News Room Press Releases Governor Signs AB 420 Ending Prison Gerrymandering
Tuesday, October 11 2011

Governor Signs AB 420 Ending Prison Gerrymandering

LOS ANGELES - Governor Jerry Brown ended prison-based gerrymandering in the State of California by signing AB 420 (Redistricting) authored by Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles). Prior to AB 420, for redistricting purposes, California followed the practice of prison gerrymandering, which counts prisoners where they are incarcerated, rather than in their last known legal residence, as required by Election Code Section 2025. AB 420 requires the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to provide the California Redistricting Commission with last known address data on its inmates, so that they may be counted in their home districts, and not in prison.

"Prison gerrymandering dilutes minority representation in our state's democracy," said Assemblyman Davis. "It violates the 14th Amendment of the Constitution because it violates the one-person, one-vote principle, which requires all members of a political body to represent the same number of constituents. Prison gerrymandering can artificially inflate the population in some districts, and lead to "captive constituents" who are counted as residents of the districts where prisons are located for ten years, when on average they are free within 3 years. I am elated that Governor Jerry Brown has taken the leadership to end prison gerrymandering, an unfair practice which undermines fair and just treatment for many minorities. I feel encouraged that the American Dream can happen for many individuals in California, not just a few individuals!" Assemblyman Mike Davis revealed.

"California is the 4th state to correct a serious flaw in the decennial Census," said Peter Wagner, Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative in the Prisoners of the Census News (Oct. 9th issue). "California joins Maryland, New York and Delaware in ending the Census Bureau's miscount of prisoners. The new law offers California voters a fairer data set on which future districts will be drawn," explained Wagner.

A host of civil rights advocates, professional associations and unions supported the bill including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Los Angeles and Sacramento Urban Leagues, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, SEIU 1000, AFSCME, California League of Women Voters, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Teamsters, California Nurses Association, Latino Coalition of Los Angeles, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Salvadoran Business Corridor, SEIU-ULTCW, United States Veterans Initiative, Hispanic National Bar Association and many more.

CONTACT: JOAN SCOTT @ (213) 744-2111

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