The LA Times Asks, Should the Census Count Black and Latino Inmates in Rural Prisons as Area Residents?

April 3, 2020 In the Press

With the 2020 census now beginning, a central criminal justice question has emerged, “Should prisoners be counted as residents of the community where they’re incarcerated or of their home when they were arrested and where they generally return to upon release?”

Reporting for the Los Angeles Times, Kurtis Lee and Sandhya Kambhampati write, 

The U.S. Census Bureau counts inmates as residents of the counties where they’re imprisoned — a practice that officials say is meant to provide the most accurate and fair way of capturing a moment-in-time count. Still, in recent years, a wave of states have passed laws requiring post-count adjustments during legislative redistricting to avoid what critics refer to as prison gerrymandering.

Advocates contend that regions where prisons are located — often rural, predominantly white areas — have unfairly inflated their numbers, and thus their political clout, by being able to count inmates such as Marquantte, who is black. Many of the inmates are Latino or black men from more densely populated areas.

Read the full article here.