© 2024 WFAE

Mailing Address:
8801 J.M. Keynes Dr. Ste. 91
Charlotte NC 28262
Tax ID: 56-1803808
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mecklenburg County jail will resume face-to-face visits

Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office

Face-to-face visits can soon resume at the Mecklenburg County jail because of decreasing COVID-19 concerns, according to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.

The office said in a news release Monday that in-person visits will restart on March 21, after being paused for roughly two years because of the pandemic. (In-person visits were briefly reopened for Fathers Day weekend in June 2021.) The jail has intermittently battled outbreaks of the coronavirus.

“This is an opportunity to reunite families safely and hopefully decrease the stress and anxiety levels of the residents and staff inside the facility,” Sheriff Garry McFadden said in a statement. “The pandemic has been a strain, but our nationally recognized protocols helped to decrease exposure and cases to a point that we can begin opening visitation again.

As of March 8, 16 people incarcerated at the jail tested positive for COVID-19, according to North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, which tracks outbreaks in congregate living facilities.

Face-to-face visits at the jail are no-contact with a plexiglass partition and must be scheduled at least one day in advance. Visitors and people incarcerated at the jail are required to wear masks inside, the sheriff’s office said.

Meanwhile, state inspectors with DHHS in February gave McFadden 60 days to correct problems related to staffing and violence, after aninspection found, among other things, that the jail regularly fell short of the 80 staff members needed per shift and that jail staff routinely failed to check up on inmates.

In response, McFaddenrolled out a plan to increase staff, including a new mandatory overtime policy, hiring bonuses and salaries starting at $52,500.

“The MCSO staffing challenges are not unique as we see this challenge across the nation in the detention profession,” McFadden said in a letter to the state. “Local confinement facilities and prisons have always struggled to find and retain personnel; coupled with a pandemic and a nationwide labor shortage that has only exacerbated our struggles.

McFadden said he is also working with the courts and other sheriff’s offices to reduce the jail’s population.

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Select Your Email Format

Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.