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Prison gerrymandering gives extra political power to legislators who have prisons in their districts. We put numbers on the problem and sparked a movement to protect our democratic process from the overgrown prison system.

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Model Incarcerated Population Data Collection Act

This model bill requires the Department of Corrections to systematically collect home address information and other key demographic data from individuals who enter their custody. By collecting data at intake, the Department will, over time and with minimal burden, build a database about the population in its custody. The data could be used for various purposes including reentry planning, or redistricting if the U.S. Census Bureau or the state decide to count incarcerated people at home for redistricting purposes.

The bill requires the basic data used in redistricting to be collected: address, race, Hispanic status, and age.

The bill requires the Department of Corrections to produce an annual report to the governor by May 1 of each year with the data it has collected for people under its jurisdiction as of April 1. The Governor may choose to release this data aggregated to Census blocks, census tracts or zip codes for various planning and policy purposes but may not release the home addresses he or she has received.

The annual report to the Governor is also required to include a summary count of how many records are complete. This will enable the Governor and the Legislature to track the progress of the record keeping effort.

The Department of Corrections in each state is believed to currently collect this data to some extent, but doing so in a systematic fashion would increase the quality and completeness of the data. Initially, the annual reports will likely show that the Department of Corrections does not have the home address or other demographic data for many people in its custody. Over time, as existing prisoners with incomplete records are released and new prisoners enter the system, the database will grow to have records for almost all prisoners in its custody.

Incarcerated Population Data Collection Act

Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Incarcerated Population Data Collection Act.

Section 2. Electronic Record.

The Department of Corrections shall collect and maintain an electronic record of the legal residence, presumptively outside of the facility, and other demographic data, for any person entering its custody after January 1, 2015 . At a minimum, this record shall contain the last known complete street address prior to incarceration, the person's race, whether the person is of Hispanic or Latino origin, and whether the person is over the age of 18. To the degree possible, the Department of Corrections shall also allow the legal residence to be updated as appropriate.

Section 3. Reports to the Governor.

(a) By January 1, 2014, the Department of Corrections shall start collecting the information specified in paragraph (b) of this subdivision for all individuals entering its jurisdiction.

(b) The Department of Corrections shall by May 1st of each year deliver to the Governor a report containing:

(i) a unique identifier, not including the name, or DOC number, for each incarcerated person subject to the jurisdiction of the department on April 1;

(ii) the street address of the correctional facility in which such person was incarcerated on April 1;

(iii) the last known address of such person prior to incarceration or other legal residence (if known);

(iv) the person's race, whether the person is of Hispanic or Latino origin, and whether the person is over the age of 18 (if known);

(c) The report shall include, for each piece of information requested in subsections (b)(iii) and (b)(iv), the total number and percentage that were known.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the information required to be provided pursuant to this subdivision shall not include the name of any incarcerated person and shall not allow for the identification of any such person therefrom. The same shall be treated as confidential and shall not otherwise be disclosed except as aggregated by census block, tract or zip code.

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