Justice Department Issues Investigation Into Georgia’s County Jail


The U.S. Department of Justice has started investigating the conditions prisoners in one of Georgia’s jails have had to contend with.

In a recent announcement, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke stated a civil rights investigation is taking place due to the conditions at Fulton County Jail.

“We are here today to announce that the United States Department of Justice is launching a civil investigation into the Fulton County Jail in Fulton County, Georgia. This investigation will be comprehensive. We will examine living conditions in the Fulton County Jail, access to medical care and mental health care, use of excessive force by staff, and conditions that may give rise to violence between people incarcerated at the facility. The investigation will also examine whether the Fulton County Jail discriminates against incarcerated people with psychiatric disabilities.”

Clarke also stated that since the data shows that the prison population is 87% Black and being mistreated, this is viewed as a racial justice issue.

Several instances were cited that prompted the investigation, such as the case of LaShawn Thompson, who was jailed with a psychiatric illness and passed away in September 2022. His body was covered in lice and filth when he died in a cell in the jail’s mental health unit. He died of severe neglect.

Violence has been a major issue in the jails. In 2022, the jails were averaging more than one stabbing a day at one point. A sheriff’s search revealed over 200 weapons at the central prison facility. Three people were killed at the jail in 2022, including a case where the victim’s body was hidden for hours before being found.

The central jail has been “dilapidated and rapidly eroding.” News crews have aired footage revealing flooding inside housing units and walls with large holes.

There are currently two Fulton County detention officers facing state charges citing that one officer allegedly choked a female arrestee while she was being booked at the Alpharetta Jail.

The Georgia prison is just one of several prisons the Justice Department is looking into. She also mentions that investigations are being pursued in Alabama, Mississippi, among other states.

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