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The U.S. census is tallying prison inmates according to where they're incarcerated, but state officials will get a chance to determine where the prisoners actually live.

While most prisoners come from Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta and other larger cities, they mainly do time in rural areas.

About 63,000 people are in state and federal lockups in Georgia.

Assigning them to the county where they're incarcerated boosts rural county population counts. The federal government allocates some funds according to population.

"That's not fair," said state Rep. Bob Bryant, D-Garden City, a member of Georgia's House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee. "The money should go back to where people come from. That area should benefit."

Peter Wagner, executive director of the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative, said assigning inmates to rural counties also affects legislative redistricting.

Districts can be unfairly padded with constituents who can't vote, Wagner said.

Until now, the Census bureau provided breakdowns on prisons only after states had finished redistricting. This time, they'll do it sooner.

About 6,200 people live in Calhoun County, with 1,638 of them housed at the Calhoun State Prison in Morgan.

"The prison does cost our county some money and some wear, tear and stress," said Richard West, vice chairman of the Calhoun County Commission. But, he admitted, "There's 300 jobs in this county that wouldn't be there if the prison wasn't here."

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