Counting prison inmates anywhere but where they are incarcerated would cost about $250 million and would threaten the accuracy of the 10-year population count, the Census Bureau told Congress, reports the Associated Press. Te bureau has always counted inmates as local residents in the communities where prisons are located. That gives those places more clout when it comes to dividing government grant money and laying out legislative districts. Some big-city congressmen, whose districts typically lose out, want the inmates counted as residents of their home towns and cities in the 2010 Census.
Census takers could use administrative records or interviews with inmates to determine their home addresses, the report said. Costs and security concerns would make interviews difficult. The nation’s 1,200 state and federal prisons house about 1.5 million inmates, the equivalent of about two congressional districts.