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Counties weigh options for empty jail cells

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Many Minnesota's counties are weighing options on what to do with an abundance of jail space.

Declining crime rates and a jail-building boom have left many counties with a surplus of jail cells. Houston County is just months away from opening its new jail. But, county commissioners have talked about letting it sit empty to save money.

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The Star Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/lAmrqL ) more than 3,000 jail cells are empty on a given day in Minnesota. Houston County is one of 12 counties that are cooperating on solutions to ease the financial burden of operating a partially-empty jail.

Some of the ideas include sharing contracts for inmates, supplies and transportation costs.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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