Between 2009 and October 2022, greater than 60 Fulton detainees died, the best whole for any jail in Georgia throughout that point, The Atlanta Journal-Structure discovered. DOJ launched a civil rights investigation of circumstances on the jail on July 13, 2023, citing the September 2022 dying of Lashawn Thompson. Thompson was present in his cell lined with mattress bugs.
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For the reason that investigation was launched, there have been not less than seven deaths on the facility, together with 4 in August 2023.
When the investigation was introduced, DOJ officers stated they’d discovered credible allegations that the jail is “structurally unsafe, that prevalent violence has resulted in severe accidents and homicides, and that officers are being prosecuted for utilizing extreme drive.” The investigation additionally targeted on medical and psychological well being care on the jail, in addition to whether or not the Fulton Sheriff’s Workplace is discriminating in opposition to folks with psychiatric disabilities.
A Georgia Senate panel was put collectively in October to look into overcrowding, case backlog and harmful circumstances on the jail.
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In a latest listening to earlier than a state senate committee, the sheriff’s basic counsel, Amelia Joiner, stated overcrowding strains the bodily limits of the growing old facility and contributes to violence. Within the first 10 months of 2023, the jail recorded 293 stabbings, 337 fights, 922 assaults and greater than 1,186 confiscated shanks, she stated.
The sheriff’s workplace has had some success in decreasing continual overcrowding by shifting inmates to different amenities throughout the state and reviewing circumstances eligible for decrease bonds, the AJC reported. In keeping with the sheriff’s workplace knowledge, the Rice Avenue jail has a capability of two,254 inmates and is at the moment holding 1,778. Over the summer season, the quantity had reached 2,700.
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Sheriff Patrick Labat has persistently backed a proposal to construct a brand new county jail, which is estimated to price greater than $1.7 billion. The Fulton County Fee formally directed county workers to discover planning and financing choices for a brand new facility. If the county strikes ahead with the plan, the brand new jail wouldn’t open till 2029.