The city would lose almost $238,000 in income, motor fuel and state-use tax if it lost the ability to count the prisoners in
the Danville Correctional Center as residents.
The prison holds more than 1,800 inmates who now count as part of the city’s population.
The overall financial impact on the city would be much more if prisoner addresses during the Census were changed to their former residence.
Proposed legislation in Illinois, House Bill 4650, would create the Prisoner Census Adjustment Act.
For purposes of creating election districts and redistricting, it would require state and local governmental bodies to use census figures adjusted to reflect the pre-incarceration addresses of persons imprisoned in state or federal facilities in Illinois.
It would require the Secretary of State to make the adjustments based upon information reported by state and local governmental entities that operate or place persons in facilities.
The bill imposes the requirements beginning after the next federal decennial census.
The change would cost the Office of the Secretary of State an estimated $30,000 for the hiring of temporary personnel.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer was unaware of the proposed legislation.
For the 2000 Census, when it was determined that prisoners be counted where the correctional facility exists, that’s when the city pursued annexing the prison into the city.
Eisenhauer said he believes one of the reasons for that determination was because “upon release, you don’t know if they are going back” to their former residence.
“Many upon release may choose to stay in the area,” Eisenhauer said. “It’d be inappropriate if they counted them in another community.”
Eisenhauer said the Census counts college students the same way right now, and the same argument could be made.
For example, if a student lives in Urbana while attending the University of Illinois when the Census forms are distributed, the student is counted as living in Urbana.
Their hometowns lose money that is distributed by population.
“It would have a significant effect (on the city),” if the prisoners are removed from the city’s population count, Eisenhauer said.
“We do not have a lot (of prisoners) formerly from the community,” he said.
He said the city will fight any legislation regarding this issue. Eight other states have similar bills pending.
Census takers started going door-to-door May 3. They carry identification, but the identification badge does not have a photograph of the field representative, water seal mark or expiration date. In addition, they don’t provide a letter from the director of the Census Bureau on U.S. Census Bureau letterhead.