Recommendation 3 -- Research on Alternative Methods of Counting Prisoners

Joint Resolution of the Hispanic and Asian-American subcommittees of the Census Bureau's Race and Ethnic Advisory Committee, October 8, 2010

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.

Background: There is a growing recognition that the Census Bureau's method of counting people in prison as residents of the correctional facility is outdated. A growing number of states, counties and municipalities have expressed interest in changing how incarcerated people are counted in the Census. In the past year, three states - New York, Maryland, and Delaware - have enacted legislation requiring that incarcerated persons be treated as residents of their pre-incarceration address for purposes of redistricting. In addition, over 100 counties nationwide also adjust the Census Bureau's counts for purposes of local redistricting. In February 2010, the Census Bureau agreed to publish the group quarters table earlier than ever before to allow state and local governments to more readily identify incarcerated populations in the redistricting data. The Census Bureau should in the coming year determine the research agenda that would be needed to implement a policy of using the pre-incarceration address for the 2020 Census, including identifying the best means of gathering such information and incorporating it into Census counts nationwide."

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  • May 15, 2018:
    Our Policy Analyst Lucius Couloute will be at the LEDA Summit on Race and Inclusion in Holland, Michigan, presenting his research on the challenges and disadvantages people face when they are released from prison. Tickets are available on LEDA’s website.

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