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Daniel Ki,, 408-644-2767 

March 10, 2021

HARTFORD, CT – Today, the Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP (NAACP CT) and the ACLU of Connecticut (ACLU CT) publicly launched a campaign to abolish prison gerrymandering in Connecticut in the 2021 Legislative Session. This launch occurs on the same day as the Government Administration and Elections Committee’s public hearing on its legislation to abolish prison gerrymandering, S.B. 753. 

“Prison gerrymandering has long been used to strip power from Black communities, denying them fair representation,” said Scot X. Esdaile, President of the NAACP CT. “This discriminatory practice has no place in Connecticut, and our elected officials must finally take action to rid the state of this legacy of racial oppression once and for all.” 

By counting incarcerated people where they are imprisoned for the purpose of redistricting—instead of their home communities—Connecticut denies incarcerated people meaningful representation. Prison gerrymandering inflates the power of the districts where prisons are located, which are predominantly white and rural, at the expense of the districts where incarcerated people reside, which are predominantly Black, Latinx, and urban. Ten states have enacted legislation to end the practice. This legislative session is Connecticut’s final opportunity to abolish prison gerrymandering before the state’s 2021 redistricting process determines legislative and congressional maps for the next decade. 

“We are proud to stand alongside the NAACP in this critical campaign to end prison gerrymandering,” said Claudine Fox, Interim Public Policy and Advocacy Director of the ACLU CT. “One person, one vote is a foundational principle of our democracy. To live by our core ideals, Connecticut must end the racist and undemocratic practice of prison gerrymandering.” 

Elected officials and nonprofit organizations across Connecticut have already announced their support for legislation to end prison gerrymandering this session including: 
•    Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill
•    Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden
•    Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney
•    House Speaker Matt Ritter
•    Senator Mae Flexer, Co-Chair of Government Administration and Elections Committee
•    Senator Gary Winfield, Co-Chair of Judiciary Committee
•    Representative Steven Stafstrom, Co-Chair of Judiciary Committee
•    Senator Will Haskell, Vice Chair of Government Administration and Elections Committee
•    Representative Matt Blumenthal, Vice Chair of Judiciary Committee
•    Senator Derek Slap
•    Representative Quentin “Q” Phipps
•    Representative Christopher Rosario
•    Representative Patricia Dillon
•    Representative Jillian Gilchrest
•    Representative Christine Palm
•    League of Women Voters of Connecticut
•    Common Cause in Connecticut
•    Latino Justice PRLDEF
•    SEIU District 1199 NE
•    Connecticut AFL-CIO
•    New Haven Rising
•    Prison Policy Initiative
•    Criminal Justice Reform Team of CONECT

“Connecticut has the opportunity to lead on voting rights and on racial justice,” said Senator Mae Flexer, Co-Chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee. “It’s time to abolish prison gerrymandering so that individuals are counted as residents of the communities where they are actually from. I look forward to working with the NAACP and the ACLU to finally right this historic wrong.” 

In January, multiple legislators introduced legislation in the Connecticut General Assembly to ban prison gerrymandering. On February 10, the Government Administration and Elections Committee voted to draft a bill to ban prison gerrymandering. Today, the Committee will host a public hearing on S.B. 753, hearing testimony from individuals and organizations strongly in support of the bill. The NAACP CT and ACLU CT look forward to the General Assembly’s further consideration and passage of this vital legislation in the coming months. 

“America’s shameful past of counting Black Americans as three-fifths cannot be its present,” said Representative Quentin Phipps. “Connecticut leaders must fulfill their promise to heed the public’s overwhelming calls for racial justice and prioritize passage of legislation ending prison gerrymandering now.” 

“For over two years, the Rule of Law Clinic has represented the NAACP in their fight to abolish prison gerrymandering, whether in federal court or the halls of the Connecticut Legislature,” said Alex Boudreau, a law student intern with the Yale Rule of Law Clinic. “We are committed to helping however we can to ensure that Connecticut is the next state in the nation to end prison gerrymandering.” 

NAACP CT and ACLU CT are represented by the Yale Law School Peter Gruber Rule of Law Clinic.