Enterprise: Prisoner count could affect Little’s district

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise has been looking at Census figures the last couple of days, trying to sort out how those numbers could affect redistricting.

They note that the new rules involving how inmates are counted could reshape Sen. Betty Little’s district.  Without the roughly 11,000 state prisoners in her senate district, the population drops to just 294,929.

The ideal number is 312,550. This from Nate Brown’s report:

Betty Little’s state Senate district and, to a lesser degree, Janet Duprey’s Assembly district are going to be on the small side now that prisoners aren’t being counted anymore.  Little’s six-county 45th Senate District might have to grow…

The method for counting prison inmates has been controversial for years.  Most Democrats think they should be tallied in the downstate districts where most prisoners come from.

Republicans have argued that inmates should be counted where they reside, even if they can’t vote and only use public services provided by the Department of Correctional Services.

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3 Responses to “Enterprise: Prisoner count could affect Little’s district”

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  1. Paul says:

    Brian, you once had a post about the modest growth in population on the outskirts of Saranac Lake. Could any of that be due to the increase in the prison population over the years? And could the non-prison population there actually be dropping?

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  2. Peter Wagner says:

    @Paul, Generally speaking, the prison population has been dropping over the last decade, although it’s possible some individual facilities grew.

    In the first week of May the Census Bureau will publish the group quarters data and we’ll be able to see exactly which populations are prisons and which are not. (Right now this is a little harder than you might expect.)

    @Brian, if it’s of interest, the Prison Policy Initiative would be happy to help figure this out in May. The Bureau won’t be published the group quarters data in a way that’s particularly accessible, but we have plans to translate it within a few hours of release.

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  3. Paul says:

    Peter, thanks. I think the data that Brian was looking at in this older blog covered a pretty large time frame something like the 1950′s on. Has the population in the prisons grown over that longer period? Doesn’t the Federal prison in Ray Brook have something like 1500 inmates, that could greatly affect the census numbers in an area outside SL where you have very few people living. Maybe they used to have a lot more inmates?

    Brian help me out, the blog you wrote about SL’s growth (and its outskirts specifically) what was the time frame you were looking at?

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