Today, the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission voted to approve a resolution that effectively rolls back the much-needed prison gerrymandering reforms passed last month. The resolution seeks to count incarcerated people whose sentences are ten years or longer at the location they are currently housed in, rather than in their communities.
Statement from Khalif Ali, Executive Director Common Cause Pennsylvania
We are deeply disappointed in today’s vote by the LRC. Pennsylvania is now the only state that counts incarcerated people in different locations based on the amount of time remaining on their sentence. This resolution is nothing more than an attempt to leverage the bodies of incarcerated individuals, who are disproportionately Black and Brown in order to bolster the population and political power of Pennsylvania’s rural, disproportionately white districts. Arguments about the use of county resources are misguided. This resolution makes no provision for those who may not serve out the full term of their sentence or those who may be transferred between prisons. Nor does it differentiate because of the severity of an individual’s crime, how much time has been served up until this point, or any other factors.
Today’s vote is clear evidence that we have much more work to do to ensure that all communities in Pennsylvania are able to receive the representation and resources they need to thrive. We commend the work of Senate Minority Leader Costa and of House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton for her continued and tireless advocacy and are committed to continuing to fight for full reallocation of all incarcerated individuals in Pennsylvania.
All Pennsylvanians deserve better than this.
Read last month’s statement here.