WILMINGTON (AP) -- New Hanover County officials plan to buy some land to expand the county jail. The $51 million jail has been open only three years but already is near capacity. County commissioners have voted to spend more than $5 million to buy 98 acres near the jail. Max Maxwell with the property management division says there is little jail property available to expand. The jail has 648 beds and is setting up another 25. Maxwell says the facility averages about 500 prisoners each week, though many beds are reserved for women and other special prisoners. Commissioner Bill Kopp says the county is essentially full and must look to expand. The purchase would give the county the flexibility to expand the jail and build other facilities, such as a fire station. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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