AP NEWS

NJ inmates to be counted as residents of their district

January 23, 2020 GMT

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Inmates in New Jersey will now be counted as residents of their most recent address when it comes to drawing the state’s legislative districts.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law Tuesday that will change how the state’s political power is distributed when it comes to prisoners.

New Jersey became the seventh U.S. state to enact such a law.

Before the bill was enacted, prisoners in the Garden State counted as residents of wherever they were incarcerated but now will be counted as residents of their last known address.

Progressive Democrats like Murphy have worked hard to end what they describe as “prison gerrymandering.”

“In most cases, incarceration is only temporary,” said state Sen. Sandra Cunningham, D-Hudson, a sponsor of the measure. “It is unfair for inmates to be considered part of a community where they’ll likely never live as a free citizen.”