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An Old Jail Outlives Its Usefulness

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The North Country is home to New York's three oldest county jails - in Hamilton, Essex, and St. Lawrence, in that order. Washington and Warren counties recently built new ones. Clinton County is expanding its 15 year-old facility. County jails have to do more than ever before. They handle all kinds of inmates. They have to follow a blizzard of state mandates. And they cost upwards of $40 million to build. But the state constitution says each of New York's 62 counties has to have one. In the first part of a series on North Country jails, David Sommerstein gets a tour of St. Lawrence County's jail, which is likely to be replaced soon.

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Inmates can heckle passersby, including legislators walking to their chamber (bottom left).

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