CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office said it is taking action after receiving an inspection report from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
The population at the county’s Uptown detention center will be decreased following NCDHHS’ inspection. Inmates will be transferred to other facilities, including some outside Mecklenburg County.
Discussions are also underway with the public defender’s office, U.S. Marshal, and the DA regarding inmates who may be eligible for release, according to MCSO.
The central detention center in Uptown is the largest in the state and is currently experiencing a staffing shortage that is jeopardizing the safe custody, safety, health and welfare of inmates, NCDHHS said.
“These are unprecedented times,” Sheriff Garry McFadden said in a statement on Monday. “Our staff has worked through the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning of 2020. They are fatigued, coping with loss due to the virus or battling the virus themselves while still fulfilling their duties.”
The inspection report from NCDHHS stated the concern for the safety of inmates housed in the facility citing staffing shortages and a construction section that fails to meet minimum standards.
“Staffing shortages exist that pose an imminent threat to the safety of the inmates and staff at MCJC,” NCDHHS’ report states. “During the December 21, 2021, semi-annual inspection coupled with an investigation into the recent incidents, it was reported to DHSR inspectors that staffing shortages leave doubt as to whether the inmates can be safely evacuated from the facility in the event of an emergency. There have been delays in response time providing assistance to staff to control the incidents and, in one case, medical attention to an injured staff member was delayed.”
NCDHHS said due to the staffing shortages, MCJC should take immediate action to de-populate the facility to a level that can be managed by available staff.