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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: November 18, 2019 02:28 PM
From: Representative Movita Johnson-Harrell
To: All House members
Subject: Lessening the Effects of Prison Gerrymandering
The United States Census Bureau has a policy of counting individuals in the location they are residing in, no matter how temporary, on April 1 of each census year. This practice can be very damaging to low-income urban areas that lose access to resources and political representation due to individuals becoming incarcerated and transported to a more rural area of the state.

Incarcerated individuals are not members of the community that their correctional facility is located in and they should not be counted by the Census Bureau as if they were. In an effort to create a more fair, and accurate, representative government, I am proposing legislation that will ensure that individuals serving a term of imprisonment that is less than 10 years will not be included in the population counts of the municipality in which their federal or state correctional facility is located in for the purposes of drawing Congressional, State Legislative, and Municipal district maps. Instead, these incarcerated individuals will be counted in the district of their last known residence, so long as it was in Pennsylvania.

Let’s make sure that our government remains true to being “for the people” as much as possible. Please join me in supporting this important legislation.