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U.S. Army Europe is disputing recent reports in the German press that it will relocate its jail facility in Mannheim to McCully Barracks, a small, boomerang-shaped military post in the village of Wackernheim near Mainz.

“It’s only a rumor,” said Anemone Rueger, spokeswoman for U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, which includes McCully Barracks. “I have no idea where it came from.”

But the news reports, which are based on unnamed sources, have brought the future of the Mannheim Correctional Facility to the forefront.

Its fate, said Bruce Anderson, a USAREUR spokesman, is certainly “part of the process the [command] is looking at” as it strives to reduce its overall presence in Europe.

The facility’s future came during a November interview Stars and Stripes conducted with Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, deputy chief of staff for USAREUR and its point man on transformation.

Located on Coleman Barracks, it is the Army and Air Force’s primary confinement facility in Europe. The 43-year-old facility can typically handle about 100 prisoners.

The facility, which reportedly underwent a $2.5 million upgrade a few years ago, was designed and built for a force that has been significantly reduced over the past 15 years.

In the early 1990s, the active-duty Army force in Europe, for example, was well over 300,000.

A decade later, it had dropped to 62,000, and by 2012 the number of soldiers is projected to be 28,000.

During the November interview, Hertling said a site for “a new facility” already had been picked, though he later said two other options exist. He added the new prison would not be a long-term facility.

“When they build a new jail at Leavenworth [Kan.], as part of the doctrinal requirements of putting guys in jail, they are not going to be kept, as far as we understand it, in an overseas facility for an extended period of time,” Hertling said.

Thirty days, he added, would probably be the maximum length of incarceration. “That’s not the case today,” Hertling said.

At the time, Hertling would not identify the location or locations under consideration. Anderson, the USAREUR spokesman, did indicate Wednesday that one thing is certain.

“I do know,” Anderson said, that the future location “is not McCully.”

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