How Prisoners Skew the Census

At Census time, America's prisoners have typically been counted as residents of the places they are imprisoned. But with nearly 1% of the U.S. population behind bars, where they're counted is counting more to the urban areas they came from.

"Counting prisoners where they're incarcerated didn't matter a lot when America had modest numbers of inmates, usually held in institutions near their homes.

But all that's changed in the last three decades as America's prisoner counts have soared from about 500,000 in 1980 to 2.3 million today. The combination of tough 'law-and-order' politics and development of a vast 'prison industrial complex' has led to confinement of predominantly city-based convicts in hundreds of new prisons in small town areas."

Now some counties with prisoner populations of up to 20% are gaining more congressional representation and federal funding. Neal Pierce takes a look at the problem and how some officials are trying to find a solution.

Full Story: How the Census Counts Prisoners: Significant Political Stakes

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