Emily Badger has an article up on Miller-McCune that explains how NY state’s prison population skews congressional districts due to the census counting prison populations as residents of the prison’s district rather than as residents of the community the prisoner was from before being incarcerated.
The counting quirk sounds like a quandary for demographers. But it also means, come gerrymandering time, that many urban black communities look smaller than they actually are, a disproportionate number of their residents having been counted in the rural areas that are home to penitentiaries.
Most states redraw political districts every 10 years using census data, and so this counting practice has the effect of increasing the political power of anyone who lives near a prison, while decreasing the power of the communities where prisoners legally reside.
I’d be curious to find out if anyone’s looked at this for Minnesota. What I do know is that Michele Bachmann’s 6th Congressional District happens to be the current home for many of Minnesota’s prisoners.
In fact, it looks like nearly half of Minnesota’s adult prisoners reside in the Michele Bachmann’s district:
I don’t know the answers. Does anyone know what impact counting the 4000+ incarcerated members of Michele Bachmann’s congressional district has on the 6th or the districts those prisoners largely came from, such as the 5th or 4th?