Pennsylvania Redistricting Commission Changes How to Count Prisoners

Pennsylvania’s Legislative Reapportionment Commission voted 3-2 yesterday to count prisoners in the municipalities in which they lived immediately prior to sentencing. The U.S. Census Bureau requires counting prisoners where they are physically located. This state change will only apply to State House and State Senate districts. Congressional districts will count inmates where they are incarcerated. This marks a significant change from past redistricting efforts and will increase the counts of urban areas with higher crime rates and diminish the counts in the rural and suburban communities where the prisons are located. PSATS testified against this change indicating that inmate counts are important to host communities as inmates incur costs to those communities, in water/sewer/waste/public safety, 9-1-1, ambulance services as well as roads and bridges for family visitation. It is unclear what this means for host communities and liquid fuels allocations, or any other population driven state formulas (grants, etc).  It appears to shift more money to urban centers. Click here to read the approved resolution.  

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