Photo of Senator Miller.

State Senator

Patricia Billie Miller

Representing Darien and Stamford

State Senator Pat Billie Miller Votes in Favor of Bill Ending 'Prison Gerrymandering


Yesterday, the State Senate voted to approve legislation that would put an end to 'prison gerrymandering.' State Senator Pat Billie Miller (D-Stamford) voted in favor of this bill, passing 35-1, that would provide for the adjustment of population data in the state. Data collected for the U.S. Census would show a person who is incarcerated as being from their hometown's location, not as the location of the state correctional facility they in.

"Passing this legislation puts an end to the unfair practice of inmates listed in the Census as residing in the legislative district where their correctional facility is rather then the community of where they are from, which is where they will most likely return upon their release," said Sen. Miller. "Prison gerrymandering gives that district skewed political representation and robs their home community of resources needed to support that inmate and their family."

Senate Bill 753, "An Act Concerning the Counting of Incarcerated Persons For Purposes of Determining Legislative Districts," provides for the adjustment of Connecticut population data collected and used by the U.S. Census.

Under the bill, Connecticut inmates would be listed in the Census as residing at their last known address, instead of residing in one of the few towns in Connecticut where they can be incarcerated. This could potentially change the existing boundaries of some state and federal legislative districts and could also bring more resources to an inmate's hometown.

U.S. Census data is used every 10 years to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, and it is used to draw congressional and state legislative district lines.

Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, and others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions regarding political representation and community investments. Census data could be used to show where communities need new schools, health clinics, roads, and other services for families, the elderly, and children; prison gerrymandering unfairly and unnecessarily robs those communities of future resources and political power.

Under Connecticut's current practice of prison gerrymandering, residents of Connecticut’s predominantly white, rural districts (where most prisons are concentrated) derive greater political representation in the state legislature than the Black and brown residents of the cities and towns where they come from.

Ten other states, including New York, have overturned such prison gerrymandering practices; the bill is important to pass this year before Connecticut begins the process of political redistricting later this year.