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Captive constituents

The Anniston Star reports: When Talladega City Councilman Joseph Ballow goes up for re-election, he can be sure that more than a quarter of the residents in his ward won't show up at the polls -- because they're behind bars.

One of five councilmen in this city of approximately 16,000, Ballow represents a 3,121-person ward that includes Talladega Federal Correctional Institution, a prison with 939 inmates. ...

That phenomenon has been a matter of growing concern for some prison reform advocates, who see the potential for "prison gerrymandering" -- the use of prisoners to beef up the numbers when political districts are redrawn.

"We think of one person, one vote as the rule, " said Aleks Kajstura, legal director for the Prison Policy Initiative, a nonprofit group that advocates for a new way of districting prisons. "But when you pad out the population with inmates, you're giving people in some parts of the country more political power than others." -- Captive constituents: Prison population beefs up some Alabama districts - The Anniston Star: News

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