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How and why North Carolina counties decide to build or expand jails, the costs of those decisions and possible alternatives.
Many North Carolina counties are betting their futures on bigger jails, guided by consultants who could profit from designing them. Counties don’t always weigh the long-term costs of putting their money on bigger jails instead of other options. Relying on revenue from housing inmates for other governments could cost counties more than they earn, especially if that revenue stream dries up. But advocates for reform are pointing to legislative and policy alternatives that could eliminate the need for repeatedly building more cells. Raising Jails is made possible in part with support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, a national foundation that supports the investigative reporting efforts of independent journalists and news organizations, and through the support of readers like you. You can support nonpartisan in-depth and investigative journalism in North Carolina from our nonprofit newsroom by becoming a member today.
Resources: A look at data on building jails in North Carolina
This series is produced by the news team of Carolina Public Press.
Reporting by Jordan Wilkie.
Photos by Anthony Crider, Melissa Sue Gerrits, Colby Rabon and Jordan Wilkie.
Illustration by Mariano Santillan.
Graphics by Anna Deen.
Editing by Frank Taylor and Laura Lee.