The Correctional Facility Locator is built to show where Census 2000 data counts prisoners as if they were local residents, so that population numbers can be manually corrected for the purposes of redistricting. (The tool is useful only for redistricting, not research on the damage done to individual communities' demographic profile. Our Too Big to Ignore tool measures how much the prisoner miscount has skewed statistics for specific counties.)
We urge researchers to use this tool instead of their practical knowledge of prison locations, because the Census has not always identified prisons at their actual locations. The Census altered the locations of some prisons by a few feet, but others were placed in the wrong town or county. For the purpose of tracking the impact of Census data, it does not matter where the correctional facilities are in your county, it matters only where the Census Bureau thinks they are. While the Census put many prisons in the wrong location, we know of only a handful of cases where these errors were corrected prior to redistricting.
While the results of Census 2000 remain official, the Census Bureau did publish the results of its Count Question Resolution program, which investigated many of these errors. We've linked this database of corrections to the Census' published data and to our own notes about facilities that we know to have been placed in the wrong location.
Because it is often important to distinguish between local jails (which contain mostly residents of the county, who are allowed to vote) from state and federal prisons (whose prisoners typically cannot), we have included links to databases that list the name, type and size of prisons and jails at the approximate date of the Census. When comparing these databases to the Census data, please note that the Census Bureau sometimes grouped multiple neighboring facilities into the same block or spread different parts of a single facility across multiple neighboring blocks. Many of the very small correctional facilities counted in the Census are actually halfway houses, for which we do not have a database of names. We suggest treating them for redistricting purposes like local jails.
We also provide, for reference purposes, links to the larger census geographies of census block groups and census tracts. Using them alongside the provided Google map of the general vicinity, you should be able to determine where the correctional facilities were counted.
Enter a county or state name to see all Census blocks in that area that contain correctional facilities. You can also search by facility name, though that field is still a work in progress.
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