In the past five years, Minnesota counties spent tens of millions of dollars to add beds to their jail capacity.
But there are now 18,000 fewer arrests than there were at the start of the building boom.
The result is competition among the counties to rent the excess capacity to other juridictions.
Other stories you'll find only in Sunday's paper:
LOCAL: A year ago, nearly 200 people lost their homes in a fire at the Burncliff Apartments complex in Burnsville. A $1 million gift from an anonymous donor helped the residents with their financial loses. But as the Tuesday anniversary approaches, it's clear that the emotional scars remain fresh.
BUSINESS: Nonprofit organizations have felt the sting of the Great Recession. Demand for basic services has increased even as funding from state and federal sources has gone down. Steep investment losess have eroded endowments at some organizations. Overall, expenses increased at a rate more than three times as much as the growth in revenue, according to the Star Tribune’s annual Nonprofit 100 survey of Minnesota’s biggest nonprofits.
SPORTS: After winning back-to-back national titles earlier in the decade, the Gophers men's hockey team has fallen on hard times, despite a roster that contains 21 players drafted by NHL teams. The Gophers are relegated to the lower division of the WCHA after missing the NCAA playoffs last season.
ENTERTAINMENT: Tales of resilience in the face of hardship have struck a chord with recession-battered movie audiences. Whether it’s Oscar winner “Slumdog Millionaire” or this season’s hits “Precious,” “The Blind Side” and “Up in the Air,” economic insecurity is a topic in feature films in a way not seen since the Great Depression, when Busby Berkeley musicals featured montages of bread.