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Fewer Mecklenburg inmates put new jail in question

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CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) -- The number of inmates at the Mecklenburg
County Jail has dropped so much that plans for a larger detention
center are being reconsidered.

The Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday that lower inmate
populations have prompted county commissioners to consider setting
aside plans to build a $240 million, 1,700-bed permanent jail in
north Charlotte.

The new jail was planned as the county's inmate population
peaked at 2,900 inmates in 2007. Space had become so tight that
hundreds of inmates slept on cots.

Existing jail facilities have 2,700 beds. Mecklenburg was
housing fewer than 2,000 inmates last week.

Officials say lower crime rates and justice system reforms have
led the drop in the number of inmates.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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