The Integrated Justice Alliance (IJA) requests the help of New Jersey’s social justice community to assist in, “righting a wrong in New Jersey commonly referred to as Prison Based Gerrymandering (PBG)”. This practice is outlawed in several states and New Jersey State Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D) has sponsored Senate Bill S-1055 to make this unethical practice illegal in our state too.
S-1055 requires incarcerated individuals to be counted at their residential address for legislative redistricting purposes. The current practice of PBG permits the communities that house prisons to claim inmates as residents of their town. This allows those municipalities to lay claim to funds which might otherwise flow into inmates’ home communities and benefit their families. It also skews the fundamental democratic principle of one man, one vote, on which our country’s political system is based – as New Jersey prison inmates are not allowed to vote during the term of their incarceration.