The NJ mixes the detainees for a redistribution: 16,200 displaced, 6,000 erased


TRENTON – State officials have changed the New Jersey census results in an effort to redraw the political maps for the next decade, reallocating 16,198 prisoners from the towns where they are held to the addresses where they previously resided.

Another 5,978 people were removed from the redistribution count entirely because their previous address is out of state or unclear – mostly federal inmates whose details have been declared prohibited.

The changes affect about 0.24% of the state’s total population, or one in 419 inhabitants.

Henal Patel, director of the democracy and justice program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, said New Jersey has long been engaged in “prison electoral cheating,” counting those incarcerated as residents of the municipality where their prison is located – even if they are not really part of that community and never have been.

Nearly 62% of state inmates are black – and, according to Patel, their home communities are politically weakened, artificially boosting the influence of cities where they are locked up but cannot vote.

“Where we count people matters,” Patel said. “In this situation, for decades and decades, what we have been doing is using prison bodies, mostly black, to inflate the power of others. It is a compromise of three-fifths of modern times. It is therefore a great victory that we have ended this practice. It’s huge.”

Cumberland is the most affected

Cumberland County’s political weight is most affected by the adjustment, as its population of 154,152 will be treated as 147,094 for mapping purposes, a decrease of 4.6%. Burlington County is 1% smaller, and Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Essex are also seeing their redistribution numbers decline.

Most counties add residents to their population counts, as do 469 of the state’s 565 municipalities, reflecting former residents who were incarcerated elsewhere.

Detainees were removed from the tally of 26 municipalities that house prisons or halfway houses, although only 12 locations suffered a net loss after people were reassigned to their homes. Eight of them were reduced by more than 1,000, including four where nearly 3,000 or more inmates were reassigned out of town.

New Hanover’s population plunges by more than half, to 2,702 from 6,367. Maurice River is down almost half without its two state prisons. Newark’s tally was adjusted downward to 3,351 to reflect jail and halfway houses, but nearly 2,000 inmates were later added to its tally.

Patel said it was appropriate to count the detainees at their old home, where they have connections and are likely to return when released.

“This is their home. That’s where they come from, ”Patel said. “This is where their communities are. This is where their families are. This is where their children are. This is where they should be counted.

The feds will not share information

The Federal Bureau of Prisons did not provide the requested data because the state’s request was not for law enforcement purposes and therefore said it was not authorized to release it. This affects 2,997 inmates at Fort Dix in Burlington County and 1,035 inmates at Fairton Correctional Complex in Cumberland County.

These prisoners – along with 1,114 state inmates who resided outside of New Jersey and 797 whose previous address was not known to the state, was incomplete, or was a PO box or rural route – are not nowhere counted for redistribution and are listed at “an unknown location in the state”.

A total of 5,958 people are assigned to no geography for the purposes of clipping.

The state had to compensate for some quirks and inaccuracies in census data, including seven census blocks where the Department of Corrections reported an inmate population – most in halfway houses – but the 2020 census did not. registered person living in group quarters.

County by county details

Atlantic County

2020 Census: 274,534

Adjusted population: 275,531

Removed: 6

Added: 1003

Change: 997

Percent change: 0.36%

Bergen County

2020 Census: 955,732

Adjusted population: 956,200

Removed: 8

Added: 476

Change: 468

Percent change: 0.05%

Burlington County

2020 Census: 461,860

Adjusted population: 457,230

Removed: 5,210

Added: 580

Variation: -4 630

Percent change: -1.00%

Camden County

2020 Census: 523,485

Adjusted population: 524,999

Removed: 297

Added: 1 811

Change: 1,514

Percent change: 0.29%

Cape May County

2020 Census: 95,263

Adjusted population: 95,518

Removed: 4

Added: 259

Change: 255

Percent change: 0.27%

Cumberland County

2020 Census: 154,152

Adjusted population: 147,094

Removed: 7,711

Added: 653

Change: -7,058

Percent change: -4.58%

Essex County

2020 Census: 863,728

Adjusted population: 863,421

Removed: 3,351

Added: 3 044

Change: -307

Percent change: -0.04%

Gloucester County

2020 Census: 302,294

Adjusted population: 302,670

Deleted: 0

Added: 376

Change: 376

Percent change: 0.12%

Hudson County

2020 Census: 724,854

Adjusted population: 725,887

Removed: 6

Added: 1 038

Change: 1,033

Percent change: 0.14%

Hunterdon County

2020 Census: 128,947

Adjusted population: 127,899

Removed: 1,084

Added: 36

Change: -1.048

Percent change: -0.81%

Mercer County

2020 Census: 387,340

Adjusted population: 385,636

Removed: 2,720

Added: 1 016

Change: -1,704

Percent change: -0.44%

Middlesex County

2020 Census: 863,162

Adjusted population: 862,610

Removed: 1703

Added: 1 151

Change: -552

Percent change: -0.06%

Monmouth County

2020 Census: 643,615

Adjusted population: 644,455

Removed: 4

Added: 844

Change: 840

Percent change: 0.13%

Morris County

2020 Census: 509,285

Adjusted population: 509,479

Removed: 9

Added: 203

Change: 194

Percent change: 0.04%

Ocean County

2020 Census: 637,229

Adjusted population: 637,786

Removed: 3

Added: 560

Change: 557

Percent change: 0.09%

Passaic County

2020 Census: 524,118

Adjusted population: 525,464

Removed: 49

Added: 1 395

Variation: 1,346

Percent change: 0.26%

Salem County

2020 Census: 64,837

Adjusted population: 64,987

Deleted: 0

Added: 150

Change: 150

Percent change: 0.23%

Somerset County

2020 Census: 345,361

Adjusted population: 345,641

Deleted: 2

Added: 282

Change: 280

Percent change: 0.08%

Sussex County

2020 Census: 144,221

Adjusted population: 144,333

Deleted: 0

Added: 112

Change: 112

Percent change: 0.08%

Union County

2020 Census: 575,345

Adjusted population: 576,460

Removed: 7

Added: 1 122

Change: 1,115

Percent change: 0.19%

Warren County

2020 Census: 109,632

Adjusted population: 109,716

Deleted: 2

Added: 86

Change: 84

Percent change: 0.08%

Michael Symons is the State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at [email protected].

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