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Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission Tweaks Incarcerated Persons Reallocation Policy

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The Center Square: Christen Smith | September 21, 2021

(The Center Square) – The five-member panel tasked with redrawing the state’s legislative districts tweaked its prisoner reallocation policy on Tuesday to account for inmates with sentences extending beyond 2030.

Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Greensburg, offered the resolution as a compromise after the commission voted 3-2 earlier last month to count a prisoner’s residency based on their last known address and not the state correctional facility in which they currently live.

“I would like to find an agreeable way for us to move forward,” she said. “I believe limiting the scope … to only those inmates returning home within the next few years is a reasonable compromise.”

Ward’s resolution impacts about 3,000 inmates who won’t fulfill their sentences until April 1, 2030 – the date in which the next U.S. Census data would come due. Individuals serving life sentences at state prisons or those housed in federal correctional facilities remain exempt from the policy.

Housed Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, argued the resolution undermines the intent of her original proposal to count inmates as residents in the communities where they actually lived prior to arrest.

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