Is It “Prison-based Gerrymandering?” Stallworth Urges New Prison Count

Rep. Stallworth, right, with Dale Ho of the NAACP.

Does Bridgeport lose legislative juice when its inmate-based population is counted in other communities?

State Rep. Charles Stallworth, who won the February special election to replace Chris Caruso in the state legislature, says state prisoners should be counted based on their last community of residence, not the place of their incarceration. Stallworth maintained in testimony before a legislative committee that Connecticut’s largest cities lose legislative clout because their populations are reduced as a result of inmate residency counted elsewhere. Rural towns, he argued, are accorded more proportional influence because they can count thousands of inmates among their population. Stallworth made his case as state lawmakers prepare to redraw legislative districts to address the 2010 U.S. Census.

From Stallworth:


Rep. Charles Stallworth (D-Bridgeport) testified in Hartford before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee today in support of a bill that would change the way prison inmates are counted with respect to their residency. He was joined by Dale E. Ho, Assistant Counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Current law counts Connecticut’s prisoners as resident of the facilities in which they are incarcerated. That practice skews the population number and affects the political districting process. The bill seeks to adjust the population data to count incarcerated persons as residents of their last town of residence rather than as residents of the town in which the correctional facility is located.

“Towns in which prison facilities are located get proportionally higher representation rates in the General Assembly because they house inmates from my town,” Rep. Stallworth said. “While I understand the perceived burden having a prison has on towns, the costs of returning inmates are borne by our largest cities–-they should be counted where they lived before incarceration.”

Maryland, Delaware and New York have recently passed laws that end prison-based residency by counting incarcerated people at home for state and local redistricting purposes.

Stallworth represents the 126th district in Bridgeport; he serves on the Higher Education, Finance and Public Health Committees.



  1. I don’t understand. None of these incarcerated people have the right to vote. They, therefore, have no say in how they wish to be governed and by whom. Yet the politicians benefit from their headcount? This is beyond my level of perspicacity.

  2. This beef has been going on in New York State for at least two decades. Convicts from NYC are sent “up state.” They were included in census counts for rural areas to apportion the Legislature.

    It’s a fascinating issue.

    Have not read a resolution of the issue.

  3. Gerrymandering is an important issue. It’s one of the NoLabels key issues too. Stallworth also serves on the Public Health Committee, so he should address another major issue at the moment: the nearby Millstone nuclear plant, since the Japan nuclear meltdown.

    Tonight, we have a radiation expert on the TV show ‘Bridgeport Now’ at 8:15pm to discuss risks, and activist Nancy Burton will call in. See this recent CT Post article:

    If you are a homeowner in the Bridgeport area, the value of your property would drop dramatically overnight if there were any Japan-like nuclear leak. Not to mention long-term health danger. Watch the show to see how close we are and what the risks are. There are apparent existing irregularities at close-by nuclear plants. Today the Japan plant revealed they did not address problems they had prior to partial meltdown. Let’s take a look.

    Then at 8:30pm, we do an overview of recent developments, upcoming battles and challenges including controversial zoning plans on the table in the city.

    1. We should all bow our heads now and remember the thousands of coal miners who have died to provide us with electricity from coal. Perhaps we can also remember those killed by radioactive particulates released in the megatons of coal plant emissions. (They do contain trace amounts of uranium and other radioactive elements.)

      The last time I looked, Millstone Point was maybe 50 miles to the east. Our prevailing winds would blow fallout away from Bridgeport.

      A modest proposal: See if Bridgeport has stable geology. It should, since we are in the center of the North American Plate. Then build a huge nuke deep underground, and collect property taxes. What would a billion dollars do to the tax base? Mmmm? Pumby! (Please–under my back yard!) Yes, yes, I know it is politically incorrect.

  4. Bridgeport now: You are starting to sound like chicken little. “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” Last week it was get rid of the coal-burning electric generating plant, this week it’s get rid of the nuclear plant that generates electricity.
    Your expert is blaming the tsunami for the problems in Japan, she failed to mention the fact there was a 9.0 earthquake which was the first earthquake of that size since these things were recorded. The earthquake did the damage to this plant more than the tsunami.
    Here is a quote from this tree hugger: “Burton said Millstone is vulnerable to attack by firing a torpedo-like device at the three water intake ports that draw liquid from Niantic Bay to cool the reactor and spent-fuel pools. She said buildings that house those pools could also be struck by aircraft, triggering a pool fire that would release tremendous amounts of radiation and possibly cause the reactor itself to melt down.”
    Give me a freaking break, that’s like saying a mouse on crack could cause a breakdown of epic proportions.
    I have one question, how do you and yours propose we generate electricity?

  5. Just trying to make people aware of the risks. Mainstream media failed us in many ways since they run the commercials from many of the companies involved. Meanwhile, I can’t mention here, the zoning issue we will discuss at 8:30pm, but it is big issue being discussed in the city. Tune in to find out.


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