Organizations and legislative bodies can make their views on the Census Bureau’s prison count and the practice of prison-based gerrymandering known through formal resolutions and recommendations. On this page, we provide some sample resolutions and links to adopted resolutions.
Our committee concluded that including prison populations in the district where the prison is located distorts the one-man, one-vote principle, giving communities with prison populations more influence than their population of permanent residents would justify.
Our committee recommends that the Legislature reconsider Senate Bill 720 and pass it in the next session. Passage of such a bill would create greater clarity on how prisoners should be counted, thus removing a potential source of discord from the redistricting process. It would also correct the situation in which certain districts have unwarranted advantage in political representation because of large prison populations.
“The Committee recommends that the Census Bureau prioritize conducting research as part of their 2020 Census planning to describe a process and the feasibility of implementing changes to the "usual residence" rule to provide a count in the 2020 Census of incarcerated persons at the pre-incarceration addresses, including identifying the best means of gathering such information and incorporating it into Census counts nationwide.
“… THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) believes that the Census Bureau should count incarcerated individuals at their addresses of residence, rather than the address of the prison during the 2020 and all future decennial Censuses;
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that until the Census Bureau counts incarcerated individuals at their actual residential addresses, the NBCSL encourages states to enact legislation modeled after the Delaware, Maryland, and New York laws….”
“The Hispanic Advisory Committee (HAC) recommends that the Census Bureau conduct research as part of their 2020 Census planning to describe a process and the feasibility of implementing changes to the ‘usual residence’ rule to provide a count in the 2020 Census of incarcerated persons at the pre-incarceration addresses, including identifying the best means of gathering such information and incorporating it into Census counts nationwide….”
“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms the 2009 resolution on ending prison-based gerrymandering; and
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NAACP will continue to advocate to the United States Congress, the United States Department of Commerce and to the public that the Census count incarcerated people as residents of their last home address; and […]
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP concludes that until the Census Bureau counts incarcerated people as residents of their homes, the fundamental principle of one person one vote" would be best satisfied if redistricting committees refused to use prison counts to mask population shortfalls in districts that contain prisons; and
“BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocate that the prison population census count not be used in any legislative district at the local, state and federal level.”
“The AA REAC recommends the Census Bureau allows prison inmates to fill out individual census forms giving their own preference as to place of residence, rather than continuing the current practice of having the prisoners counted as group quarter’s population where they are incarcerated.
The AA REAC recommends the Census Bureau provides an opportunity to discuss the topic of prisoners… and political representation in the communities from which they came.”
“… THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP, on principle, decries the enumeration of prisoners as local residents as violation of our nation’s fundamental one person one vote ethos of representational democracy, harkening back to the disgraceful three fifths era of constitutionally sanctioned slavery; and
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls on the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census to enumerate prisoners within census blocks where domiciled at their time of arrest; and
“BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NAACP units call upon their Congressional representatives to effect such a permanent change to the Census Bureau enumeration procedures.”
“… BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP will advocate that the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census, that for the purposes of the 2010 census, that all prisoners he enumerated as residents of the census tract wherein they were domiciled at the time of their arrest and/or conviction.”
“A research and testing program, including experimentation as part of the 2010 census, should be initiated by the Census Bureau to evaluate the feasibility and cost of assigning incarcerated and institutionalized individuals, who have another address, to the other location.”
“We recommend that prisoners, including those housed outside their states, be counted as residents of their pre-incarceration addresses…”