Innovative Genius: The Underlying Theme of Quirky Albert Einstein Steve Jobs Marie Curie Thomas Edison These people amaze us with their ability to come up with world-changing products and ideas throughout their lives. As business owners, we might even envy the ability of these individuals to create. In trying to understand how thee creative geniuses […]
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The Census will continue to skew its count toward rural areas with big prisons by counting inmates as residents where they are imprisoned rather than in their home communities. It’s business as usual, but totally messed up business as usual:
The census notice: “Counting prisoners anywhere other than the facility would be less consistent with the concept of usual residence, since the majority of people in prisons live and sleep most of the time at the prison.”
The opposition: “The Bureau’s decision is inconsistent with the way the ‘usual residence’ rule is applied to other similarly-situated people. The Census Bureau is picking favorites based on economic and racial privilege: if boarding school students are deemed to live at home, then the same logic should be applied to incarcerated people,” Aleks Kajstura, legal director at the Prison Policy Initiative.
This decision is directly against the wishes of the public:
The bureau said in a notice on Wednesday that it had received 77,995 public comments in 2016 calling for an overhaul of the policy, and 4 opposing a change.
And it can have significant electoral impacts:
Counting prison populations as if they were actual constituents of the prison location gives a few small communities more political power at the expense of everyone who does not live near a prison. In effect, everyone who does not live in a district that contains a prison has their vote diluted by these artificially inflated populations.
In fact, prison gerrymandering is most dramatic in rural, low-population communities that host a prison; there the phantom prison population can account for most of local government district.
According to the Prison Gerrymandering Project, while the Census has always counted inmates as living where they are imprisoned, “until the era of mass incarceration, the Bureau’s practice amounted to little more than a trivial quirk.”
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