CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden has had a controversial first year on the job.

  • Sheriff McFadden looks back on his first year in office
  • Discusses reasons behind decision to end 287g program inside the jail
  • Talks about his changes to current prison system in Mecklenburg County

One of the points of controversy is over his decision to end Immigration and Customs Enforcement 287g program inside the jail.

His critics say the sheriff’s office is releasing violent offenders rather than working with ICE to deport them.

“Here's what people don't say. Why doesn't ICE cooperate with me?” McFadden says. “Once a person has met all the conditions of their bond I'm directed by a judge or magistrate to release that person. At that time ICE hasn't spoken to any federal judicial officials to have a document signed to say I should not release that person.”

McFadden says he's just following the law.

“I think they need to go back to the drawing board but take everybody to the drawing board. Take the sheriffs to the drawing board, not to have us fighting against each other,” McFadden says.

But there are other changes.

Since taking office, McFadden has brought back in person visits, created a behavioral health unit, added job fairs, and gotten rid of solitary confinement for teenagers.

The sheriff is also trying to change the culture. The jail is now called a detention center and inmates are called residents.

The hope is to give respect with the hope residents don't return.

“We bring back much more human dignity, we bring back much more dignity. We bring back much more trust,” McFadden says. “Are we there yet? No, we're not there yet but I can tell you we're much better off than a year ago.”

Spectrum News reached out to ICE about McFadden’s first year in office, but didn’t hear back.