ACLU of Georgia

ACLU says Fulton County can reduce jail overcrowding without leasing additional jail space

Jim Burress  | WABE | October 12, 2022

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Fulton County’s newly elected Sheriff Pat Labat told the Atlanta City Council Thursday that the purchase of the mostly empty city jail could help overcrowding at the county jail. Alison Guillory / WABE

Fulton County’s Jail is overcrowded, forcing hundreds of detainees to have to endure substandard conditions, including sleeping on cots on the floor.

Sheriff Patrick Labat and the City of Atlanta reached an agreement to ease that overcrowding.

The plan is for the city of Atlanta to lease 700 jail beds from the Atlanta City Detention Center. That’s pending an analysis by an intergovernmental committee.

Atlanta had planned to close ACDC as a jail, and repurpose the building as a community center to provide services and education.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens says the city will move forward with using part of the facility to provide diversion services, but the remainder will be taken up by Fulton county detainees at least through the end of the lease.

The ACLU and ACLU of Georgia released a report outlining ways that Fulton County can reduce its overcrowding problem without leasing additional jail space.

“Our analysis shows that implementing commonsense policies, many of which are demanded by Georgia law, would make increasing carceral spaces unnecessary,” said Fallon McClure, deputy director of policy and advocacy at the ACLU of Georgia. “The recommendations in this report lift up good governance, reduce wealth-based discrimination in the criminal legal system, and seek a more holistic solution to overcrowding in Fulton County.”

McClure joined WABE’s “All Things Considered” to share the findings of a report.