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Allegheny County Jail population rises as crime rate falls

| Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, 7:42 p.m.
Allegheny County Jail
JUSTIN MERRIMAN
Allegheny County Jail

PITTSBURGH — A new report commissioned by officials in Allegheny County found that the county is incarcerating too many people at its jail at great cost to local taxpayers.

University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics researchers discovered that the Allegheny County Jail's population increased by 70 percent while crime rates have decreased over the past 20 years.

Leaders of the report say the increase in jail population was largely driven by pre-trial detention despite the fact that effective tools are in place to decide which defendants should be locked up.

Eighty-one percent of the jail's inmates are not serving sentences.

The report suggests that Allegheny County could save $12 million annually without jeopardizing public safety by changing some of its practices.

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