Big Drop In Local Jail Population

By Steve Crump - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Our local jails are 85 percent full, and in recent months some inmates were sleeping on floor.

Things are now different, and there is now more space.

It's not just a drop in Charlotte Mecklenburg inmates, but fewer federal prisoners are also calling the county lock up home.

Sheriff Chipp Bailey is proud of the dramatic dip.

"We were just shy of 29 hundred in August of 2007," he said.

It was a record, but now 700 fewer inmates are at the Mecklenburg County jail than during the summer of 2007.

If more people are released than arrested, the sheriff considers it a victory.

One example came on Tuesday of this week. 88 suspects brought in, but 113 inmates sent home.

That left the jail population at 2123.

"The crime rate is down. It's been down for a while, " according to Bailey.

He credits the efforts of CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe.

Monroe said, "Whether they're breaking into cars or breaking into homes or robbing people on the street, we're not a city or county that's going to sit back and tolerate that."

The sheriff also says crime has a restless dynamic.

His message to the community is don't get comfortable.

"It could change in the next two or three years. We'll be looking to plan a new jail. It's not an exact science," Bailey said.  "We'll just have to wait and see how it goes."

He'll be waiting with a daily score card.

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