It matters a lot how and where you count prison inmates in New York state.
With tens of thousands of prisoners behind bars, the accounting could affect redistricting and political power — especially in a year when lawmakers are already wrestling with the results of last year’s Census.
This from the Watertown Daily Times.
Senate Republicans are mulling a federal lawsuit to challenge counting prisoners as residents at their previous known address — often New York City — instead of the facility where they’re locked up — often upstate.
Most Democrats support counting inmates by their home residences — a policy that would benefit and boost political power in districts in New York City and Long Island.
But North Country lawmakers, even Democrats, see this very differently.
Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, a Theresa Democrat, also opposes counting inmates from their last known address.
“Prisons are a cost to the local community,” she said. “Prisoners go back and forth on our roads, they use our local healthcare system, they use the services in the area. If they want to be counted at home, they shouldn’t have done something to be incarcerated.”
So what do you think? Are the non-voting inmates living in the North Country part of our political culture? Is this a power-grab by Republicans?
Or is counting prisoners at the location of their correctional facility a fair, common sense way to do things?