“Census counting of prisoners becomes partisan battleground”

AP:

When the U.S. Census Bureau counts residents of Milwaukee’s poorest neighborhoods next year, a significant portion of their population will be missing: prisoners.

For these predominantly black areas, with incarceration rates among the highest in the nation, the government’s longstanding policy to count inmates as residents of the prison where they are held diminishes their political power back home.

“When you undercount people for the census, they end up losing in that community dollars that could go toward services that can help remediate poverty,” said state Rep. David Bowen, a Milwaukee Democrat co-sponsoring legislation to end what critics call prison gerrymandering.

Democrats argue the system shifts resources from traditionally liberal urban centers — home to many inmates who are disproportionately black and Hispanic — to rural, white, Republican-leaning areas where prisons are usually located.

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