The 2000 Census determined that Essex County has a total population of 38,851. Included in that population, however, are 2,194 persons confined in the state and federal correctional facilities located in the towns of Moriah and North Elba, a figure which represents 5.6472% of the total population of Essex County. The largest portion of state and federal inmates -- 1,898 -- are located in the town of North Elba, with 1,182 being incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institution in Ray Brook and 716 being incarcerated in the New York State Correctional Facility known as Camp Adirondack. These 1,898 incarcerated individuals represent 21.914% of the town of North Elba's population of 8,661 and 4.885% of the County population. Also, the population in the town of Moriah of 4,879 includes 296 persons who are incarcerated in the New York State Correctional Facility known as Moriah Shock, which represents 6.066% of the town's population and 0.761% of the County population.
Persons incarcerated in the state and federal correctional institutions have been convicted of criminal acts constituting felonies and their presence in Essex County is considered involuntary. These incarcerated persons: are not residents of the County since they are here involuntarily and can be relocated by the Commissioner of Corrections at the latter's discretion; are not entitled to vote and thus are not voters in Essex County; and receive no services from the County -- except when they commit new criminal acts and are brought before County Court, or when they are entitled to assignment of counsel as indigents in connection with parole hearings under New York Executive Law Article 12-B. Persons incarcerated in state and federal correctional institutions live in a separate environment, do not participate in the life of Essex County, and do not affect the social and economic character of the towns in which are located the correctional facilities where they are incarcerated are located.
The inclusion of these federal and state correctional facility inmates unfairly dilutes the votes or voting weight of persons residing in other towns within Essex County. This is particularly so if the 1,898 inmates in the town of North Elba are included in its population total of 8,661 since those inmates would then represent 21.914% of the town of North Elba's population.
The Board of Supervisors finds that the population base to be utilized in and by the plan apportioning the Essex County Board of Supervisors should exclude state and federal inmates.