Maryland Redistricting Population Count Released

Maryland releases adjusted redistricting data that counts incarcerated people at home.

by Peter Wagner, March 22, 2011

The Maryland Department of Planning issued this press release:

Maryland Redistricting Population Count Released
Adjusted in accordance with “No Representation Without Population Act” of 2010

BALTIMORE – The Secretaries of the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) and the executive director of the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) today certified adjusted Census figures for the purposes of redistricting in accordance with the Maryland “No Representation Without Population Act” of 2010.

The Act, approved by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor last year, requires that prisoners in state or federal prisons are counted for Congressional, State Legislative and local redistricting purposes based on their last known address before incarceration. Information on some 22,000 prisoners was reviewed in the process of implementing the Act. Maryland, like all states, redistricts every 10 years after the decennial census is completed. The U.S. Census Bureau on Feb. 9, 2011 delivered the data to Maryland from the national Census conducted in spring 2010.

Read the rest of the press release from the state, and check out our Maryland campaign page for some of the research, advocacy, and editorial support that led to passage of the first-in-the-nation “No Representation Without Population” Act.

Update: Thanks to Keesha Gaskins at the Brennan Center for Justice for sending along this article:

Feds foil Md. redistricting plan to count inmates by former home

by Steve Kilar, Capital News Service

WASHINGTON — A federal roadblock has stopped Maryland short of counting all prison inmates at their pre-incarceration addresses in order to draw political boundaries.

An appeal for the addresses has been made to the U.S. Department of Justice, said Andrew Ratner, a representative for the Maryland Department of Planning. But because the Baltimore City charter requires approval of a redistricting map by April 1, the department decided to release revised population figures now.

“We couldn’t wait any longer,” Ratner said. “We felt we had to move forward.”

But the new numbers are not adjusted to reflect residents of Maryland’s federal penitentiary in Cumberland — as required by a 2010 Maryland law — because the Federal Bureau of Prisons denied the state’s request for prior residence information.

The headline’s “foil” is a stronger verb than I would have used, but the story is a good introduction to the unnecessary problem created by the Bureau of Prisons, to the innovative solution employed in Maryland, and to the importance of ending prison-based gerrymandering. Read the article Feds foil Md. redistricting plan to count inmates by former home

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