Prison count numbers show big shifts in upstate districts

Michael Gianaris

September 06, 2011

Politics on the Hudson wrote about the data found by the Assembly study on how to count New York State prisoners. Senator Gianaris believes that the use of these numbers to redraw district lines would allow New Yorkers to be represented fairly.

With a court battle still pending, Assembly Democrats have released updated population figures for use during the redistricting process, counting prisoners at their last-known address rather than where they are incarcerated.

Where to count prisoners for redistricting purposes has been a sticking point as we move closer to 2012, when the lines must be redrawn. Last year, with Democrats in control of the Senate, the Legislature passed a law requiring inmates to be counted at their home address. A groups of Senate Republicans, who took back the majority this year, sued earlier this year to have it declared unconstitutional, but the case is still pending.

The figures will have a major impact on the current redistricting battle, with several current upstate districts—mostly Republican districts—taking a big hit. The task force charged with redrawing the lines has pledged to follow the current law as they wait for a court to decide its legality.

With the release of the new prisoner-adjusted numbers, downstate districts generally gained population, with upstate districts taking a hit.

Read the full article here.