Philly City Council has a New District Map, but it still Doesn’t Address Prison Gerrymandering

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WHYY PBS: Katie Meyer | February 11, 2022


Philadelphia City Council has unanimously passed a bill redrawing the districts that will determine for more than a decade which constituents its members serve.


But several significant complaints about the process by which the bill was passed remain unaddressed — and Council President Darrell Clarke said he’s leaving open the possibility that members might return to the map and make changes before its inaugural use in 2023 elections.


One of the common concerns about the map, which Philadelphians raised last month in the single public hearing on the subject, is prison gerrymandering — a term referring to a decision mapmakers may make to count an incarcerated person’s residence as the location of the prison, not the person’s original address.


There are two ways council members could have addressed it. For one, they could have drawn the map using publicly available data that state lawmakers already adjusted to count prisoners in their home districts. That would have added nearly 7,000 Philadelphians back into the city’s population, across all its districts.


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