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How and why North Carolina counties decide to build or expand jails, the costs of those decisions and possible alternatives.

Raising Jails examined why North Carolina counties decide to build bigger jails, showing that the decisions are often based on dubious work by consultants who may be hired to design the jails they recommend. Few counties are committing resources to checking jail population drivers, such as addiction, instead of simply building bigger jails. Some counties have fallen for the idea that they will recoup costs by housing inmates for other jurisdictions, but this math doesn’t always work out and involves substantial risk. Grass roots groups and incarceration experts point to ways individual counties and the state legislature can improve the system, leading to better outcomes. How and why North Carolina counties decide to build or expand jails, the costs of those decisions and possible alternatives. – The Fund for Investigative Journalism