A state official says a new women's prison in western North Carolina may be expanded by hundreds of beds if the female prison population continues to increase.
Correction Secretary Theodis Beck says the original plan called for putting 454 female inmates in Swannanoa facility. But Beck says it could hold as many as 800 inmates.
North Carolina's female prison population rose 31 percent between 2001 and 2006, reaching nearly 27-hundred inmates. A youth prison at the site is being converted into a women's facility.
Under the state's plan, 32 juveniles would be housed at the site in a prison separated by a fence from the women's facility. Prison officials plan to move the first 80 women into the facility in February from an older women's prison in Black Mountain.