Redistribution Commission to examine how inmates are counted | Rhode Island News


PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) – The commission that is reshaping Rhode Island’s political districts will examine how inmates are counted for enumeration and redistribution purposes.

The committee said on Friday it was adding a meeting to its schedule to discuss the matter.

Inmates are counted at their prison address rather than their home. The State Senate has approved legislation in the past to change this, but it stalled in the House.

Former state senator Harold Metts, a Democrat from Providence, sponsored the bill, saying “gerrymandering in prison” can dramatically alter political power, as counting inmates at Cranston Prison as residents of Cranston affects the make-up of that community’s districts and may dilute minority voting strength statewide.

The additional hearing will be scheduled at State House within two weeks.

Political cartoons

The state constitution prescribes the redistribution of the districts of the General Assembly and the two districts of the Congress after each decennial census. Representative Robert Phillips, a Democrat from Woonsocket, and Senator Stephen Archambault, a Democrat from Smithfield, head the commission.

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