Peter Wagner, Executive Director
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How much money is New York City going to gain from new law counting prisoners at home?

by Peter Wagner, August 18, 2010  

The grand total is $0, yes that says “zero.” New York’s new law ending prison-based gerrymandering won’t affect funding.

New York is not changing the way the U.S. Census counts people in prison, rather, it is adjusting the way that data is used in redistricting to comply with the New York Constitution. No federal or state funding formulas will be affected by the decision of a state to adjust their redistricting data because no federal or state funding formula is based on state redistricting data.

Even if the Census Bureau were to, in the future, count incarcerated people at their home addresses, we’ve long explained that virtually every federal and state funding formula is too smart to be fooled by prison populations. Despite assumptions to the contrary, there is very little impact from the prison miscount on funding in general.

If money is not at stake, why did 3 states pledge to count incarcerated people at home for redistricting purposes? Because those states want to ensure that legislative districts are drawn fairly, and that no district gets undue influence just because it contains a large correctional facility.

That is reason enough.

2 Responses

  1. ADVISORY: Tomorrow (10/4) Civil Rights Groups to Defend Law Ending Prison-Based Gerrymandering in NY Supreme Court Hearing | Prisoners of the Census says, 1 year, 1 month after publication:

    [...] be allocated to their home communities for state and local redistricting and reapportionment, but does not affect funding distributions. This tracks with the New York State Constitution’s explicit provision that incarceration does [...]

  2. Albany Judge Upholds Law Ending Prison-Based Gerrymandering | Prisoners of the Census says, 1 year, 3 months after publication:

    [...] be allocated to their home communities for state and local redistricting and reapportionment but does not affect funding distributions. This tracks with the New York State Constitution’s explicit provision that incarceration does [...]

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