OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 459

AN ACT CONCERNING THE COUNTING OF INCARCERATED PERSONS FOR PURPOSES OF DETERMINING LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS AND DISTRIBUTING STATE AND FEDERAL FUNDS.

SUMMARY:

This bill creates a process to adjust U.S. Census population data to count inmates at their addresses prior to incarceration instead of at the prison address. The adjusted data must be the basis for (1) determining General Assembly districts and changing municipal voting districts and (2) distributing state or federal funds or benefits. The adjusted data is not used for Congressional redistricting.

The bill's process requires the:

1. Department of Correction (DOC) to provide the secretary of the state with a list of inmates and their residential or other addresses prior to incarceration;

2. secretary to ask federal agencies for a similar list for federal prisons in Connecticut;

3. Office of Legislative Research (OLR) to adjust the census population counts so inmates, to the extent possible based on the DOC and federal reports, are represented as residing at their addresses prior to incarceration and not at the prison address; and

4. secretary to prepare and publish the adjusted data and notify municipalities that they must use it for changing municipal voting districts.

The bill prohibits using residences at unknown geographic locations within the state to determine the average population for any set of districts.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016

DOC REPORT TO SECRETARY

The bill requires DOC to determine the residential street or other address of everyone committed to DOC custody beginning on January 1, 2017. DOC must keep the addresses in an electronic record that at least contains each inmate's last-known residential street or other address before incarceration.

By May 1 of each year when the federal decennial census is taken and the U.S. Census Bureau counts inmates as residents of the town in which they are incarcerated, the bill requires DOC to provide the secretary, in a form she prescribes, with:

1. a unique identifier for each inmate under DOC's jurisdiction on the date when the census reports population (presumably, this means Census Day, which is April 1 in the year of the census);

2. the street address of the prison where the person is incarcerated at the time of the report;

3. the residential or other address of the person before incarceration, if known;

4. information about whether the person is age 18 or older;

5. the person's race and whether he or she is of Hispanic or Latino origin, if known; and

6. other information the secretary may legally request.

The bill prohibits including the inmate's name or anything else that might identify the inmate. The bill makes the information confidential and prohibits its disclosure except to OLR or as aggregated by census block for the bill's purposes.

REQUEST TO FEDERAL PRISON AUTHORITIES

In each year the decennial census is taken and the U.S. Census Bureau counts inmates as residents of the towns in which they are incarcerated, the bill requires the secretary to ask each agency operating a federal facility in Connecticut incarcerating inmates convicted of crimes to report the same information as DOC.

OLR REASSIGNMENT OF INMATE ADDRESSES

For each person included in a DOC or federal agency report, the bill requires OLR to determine the geographic units (census blocks) in the census that contain the (1) correctional facility and (2) residential or other address. When the inmate's non-prison address is known and in Connecticut, OLR must adjust the population counts of geographic units reported in the census so that the inmate is represented as residing at his or her non-prison address on the date the census reports population, and not at the prison address.

For inmates with unknown or out-of-state addresses or residing in federal prisons for which a report was not provided, the bill requires OLR to ensure that these inmates are not counted in the geographic unit of the inmate's prison. Instead, they must be counted as part of a state unit not tied to a specific geographical determination in the way that someone with an unknown state of residency is counted (such as military and federal government personnel stationed abroad).

The bill does not establish a deadline by which OLR must make these adjustments.

SECRETARY OF THE STATE'S PUBLICATION OF ADJUSTED DATA

The bill requires the secretary to prepare and publish the data adjusted by OLR within 30 days after the U.S. Census Bureau publishes redistricting data for the state. Under federal law, the census must publish this data for each state within one year of Census Day. During the last cycle, Connecticut received this data on March 9, 2011.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

22

Nay

17

(03/21/2016)