Statement on the Partial Defeat of Prison Gerrymandering on August 24th
Today we applaud the decision of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission to mostly end the racist, classist and unconstitutional practice of prison gerrymandering. Today’s vote is an important step to return political power to our communities where it belongs.
For years communities, primarily Black and brown neighborhoods, across Pennsylvania have been robbed of political power by the practice of prison gerrymandering which has counted incarcerated community members where they are imprisoned and not where they permanently reside.
We are overjoyed that the practice of prison gerrymandering is mostly ending in Pennsylvania. We say mostly, because people sentenced to life without parole will still be counted in the prison where they are incarcerated. This is the wrong move and we will continue to fight it.
People sentenced to life without parole can return home through exoneration or the Board of Pardons and we are fighting to extend parole eligibility to lifers. These individuals MUST be counted in their home communities not where they are incarcerated.
Still we celebrate this as an important first step and a victory. We recommit ourselves to the struggle ahead to ensure that our communities have the power to get what we need to thrive and that involves one day ending prison gerrymandering for lifers as well.