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North Carolina gives county 60 days to fix jail issues

February 10, 2022 GMT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina state agency has given a county jail 60 days to fix a yearlong staffing shortage which it says has made the facility unsafe.

In a Feb. 9 letter to Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services cites the jail for major safety violations, The Charlotte Observer reported.

The violations are tied to a pandemic-driven departure of personnel that’s left the Mecklenburg County jail too poorly staffed to ensure the safety of inmates or jail personnel.

DHHS Chief Jail Inspector Chris Wood warned in a letter on Dec. 23 that the staffing shortage posed “an imminent threat to the safety of the inmates and staff.”

Wood recommended that McFadden should cut the jail population to below 1,000 inmates. At the time, the jail held more than 1,400. As of Thursday morning, the jail population was 1,348.

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The 159 staffing vacancies just before Christmas was down only to 157 as of Monday. .

On Wednesday, Wood gave McFadden 30 days to inform the state on how his office would correct the violations, and 60 days to fix them entirely.

The sheriff’s office didn’t immediately respond to an email and phone call seeking comment from McFadden.