Prison Addresses Cannot be Counted, Supreme Court Says

On Monday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling which upholds a lower court ruling, and area returning citizens are pleased by the court's ruling.

Supreme Court Justices agreed with Maryland's “No Representation Without Population Act” in a summary disposition which means meaning the Justices based their ruling on existing briefs and did not engage in oral arguments. A lower court ruled that in the case of Fletcher v. Lamone, Maryland officials cannot count a prisoner's incarceration address, and must count their last known home of residence.

This is considered a big win for the state of Maryland, because Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley also agreed with the lower court. In an amicus brief, the Prison Policy Initiative and the nonprofit organization Demos, along with Washington, DC's Howard University Civil Rights Clinic, the ACLU of Maryland, the Maryland and Somerset County NAACP, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund explained the basis and need for the landmark law.

“As the amicus brief … makes clear, the Act was the product of years of work by groups dedicated to advancing the interests of minorities,” a press release says. Additionally, Demos Vice President of legal Strategies Brenda Wright said, “The Supreme Court’s ruling is a huge victory for the national campaign to end prison-based gerrymandering. This decision sets an important precedent that will encourage other states to reform their redistricting laws and end the distortion in fair representation caused by treating incarcerated persons as residents of prisons.”

"In my mind the Supreme Court is saying men and women in the state of Maryland are people," said returning citizen Curtis Nations, who once was a Maryland inmate, but now calls DC home. "Hopefully other states will begin to support the idea."