The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sued the state of Connecticut on Thursday, over how it counts its prisoners when crafting legislative districts. The NAACP lawsuit argues that urban districts are weakened while rural districts with fewer minorities benefit unfairly, in a practice critics call “partisan gerrymandering”. The civil rights organization hopes the case can become a template for suits it may file in other states where inmates are included in the population counts of areas where they are imprisoned, rather than their home districts. Including incarcerated people in population counts for the Connecticut general assembly districts where prisons are located is unfair to those living in the districts where the inmates originally came from, said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and chief executive.
“It gives disproportionate weight to oftentimes rural parts of the states, justifying disproportion in terms of representation and the allocation of state and federal funds,” Johnson said. “If you consider where individuals are from, you allow for a more accurate representation and allocation of public funds.”
The Connecticut attorney general’s office “will review the complaint and respond at the appropriate time in court”, spokeswoman Jaclyn Severance said.