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Oil Patch Trouble Causing Overcrowded ND Jails - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Oil Patch Trouble Causing Overcrowded ND Jails

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's soaring oil production has led to record population in the state. And that means more crime and less jail space. Corrections Department Director Leann Bertsch says the state's prison population is at a record level. She says there are a record 1,550 inmates at the state penitentiary in Bismarck and lockups across the state are filled beyond capacity. Bertsch says she expects the trend to continue based on the increased number of felony cases in the state. 

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would make North Dakota one of 15 states to require jail time for first-time drunken driving offenders. Bertsch says if the measure passes, the state prison system will be even more crowded.

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