TRENTON, N.J. - 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.
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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.”
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