Correction: Fulton Jail Overcrowding story
ATLANTA (AP) — In a story June 24 about overcrowding at the Fulton County jail, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the jail was more than 500 inmates over capacity. County authorities say overcrowding led to 180 inmates having to sleep on mattresses in frames on the floor in open areas.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Georgia’s Fulton County jail overcrowded again
Georgia’s Fulton County jail is overcrowded once again with some inmates having to sleep on mattresses in frames on the floor in open areas
ATLANTA (AP) — The Fulton County jail in northwest Atlanta is overcrowded once again, resulting in some inmates having to sleep on mattresses in frames on the floor in open areas.
Chief jailer Mark Adger says the daily population at the county’s four facilities was more than 3,000 inmates on several days during a one-week period in mid-June, with the highest count totaling 3,023, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
County manager Dick Anderson recently told county commissioners that the numbers were “truly beyond” what the capacity should be. About 180 inmates at the main jail were sleeping on mattresses on the floor in open areas, he said.
The county has capacity for a total of 3,048 inmates across its facilities. But because some inmates need to be isolated over mental health or safety concerns or other reasons, not every bed is usable, Adger said.
The city of Atlanta decided to close its jail in May after eliminating cash bonds for poor and nonviolent offenders. Adger said more people from the city are being held without bond in Fulton County facilities after missing their court dates. About a third of Fulton County inmates are from Atlanta, according to data from the sheriff’s office.
County attorney Patrise Perkins-Hooker said her office was considering trying to keep more inmates from being sent to county facilities.
Another issue is that the courts may also be denying people bond after some people released on bond committed new crimes, Anderson said. Additionally, the county was holding 380 people who awaiting trial for more than a year, 142 witnesses transferred to the county for trials and more than 500 people facing misdemeanor charges, he said.
The county manager’s office is investigating the reasons for overcrowding, but no measures have yet been taken to reduce the population, Adger said.
The population uptick undermines years of efforts and billions of dollars spent to improve conditions at the jail, the paper reports.
Overcrowding put the jail under federal court oversight for more than 10 years. The oversight was lifted four years ago.
The Southern Center for Human Rights filed the original lawsuit that led to the court oversight.
Sara Totonchi, the group’s executive director, said she’s concerned that prisoners will suffer because of the overpopulation.