Mecklenburg County Sheriff Talks About Fixing Jail Issues

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Violence, overcrowding and staffing issues at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center – all found after a state investigation.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden talked Friday about how his office plans to fix the problems.

“Let me reassure you this, the Mecklenburg County jail is not closing at all,” McFadden said.

Sheriff McFadden made the announcement as he laid out his plan to fix jail safety issues at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center.

It comes after the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to McFadden on Feb. 9 announcing its findings after an inspection and complaint investigation found deficiencies at the jail.

According to the state report, a staffing shortage at the detention center led to several incidents of violence involving inmates and jail employees.

“Since November of 2021 we have not had an assault with a weapon in the Mecklenburg County Detention Center,” McFadden said.

McFadden says that’s because his office created a new tactical response unit. The group of 16 officers search the jail for contraband and weapons.

In addition, McFadden also says 185 inmates have been related to other facilities reducing the population from 1,400. There are now around 834 inmates housed at the jail.

The sheriff’s office is recruiting new employees. McFadden says the pandemic has led to staffing shortages but he says people are still committing crimes which means there’s always a revolving door at the jail.

“Yesterday 108 people were released or relocated but the revolving door allowed 79 people to return back into the Mecklenburg County Detention Center,” McFadden said. “A resident here in the Mecklenburg County jail has been here since 2012 awaiting trial I’ve personally spoken to men and women who have been here for 48 months.”

McFadden says his office has not received any paperwork from the state regarding the depopulation of inmates but he says that move is already underway. His office has also reduced the juvenile population.

The state set a deadline of March 11 for she sheriff to submit a plan to fix the problems at the detention center.