Thousands of Maryland inmates were reclassified under a contentious law approved by Gov. Martin O'Malley in April that alters how prison populations are counted during the once-a-decade census. Maryland became the first state to decide that inmates should be considered residents of the jurisdiction of their last permanent address and not of the prisons where they are housed. The change came after the Census Bureau announced it would be providing states with detailed data about institutionalized groups such as the military and college students in time for redistricting efforts. The decision had significant implications for Baltimore, which has been losing population for decades, and produces as many as 6 in 10 of the state's 21,000 inmates. Under the law, Baltimore's official population was set to grow by 12,000, an increase that could help preserve the city's congressional and state legislative districts after the results of the 2010 census were released.
Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam