ACLU of Georgia

Families of Inmates in Cobb Detention Center Recount Frustrations

By Kristal Dixon | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution | December 10, 2019 

One woman said her boyfriend, who is locked up at the Cobb County Detention Center, suffers from mental illnesses and has not been given his medication consistently.

Another woman said her husband hasn’t been able to contact his attorney to prepare for an upcoming trial due to a month-long lockdown. And a mother said her son was booked into the jail in April, but it was in October before he was able to appear before a judge for the first time.

Their stories were just a few of the experiences shared by Cobb residents about family members held at the Detention Center. 

They gathered at Monday night’s town hall meeting organized by the ACLU of Georgia, Cobb County Southern Christian Leadership Conference, La Gente de Cobb and the Cobb County NAACP. More than 100 people attended the meeting and about 20 people spoke.

Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren and his department have come under criticism for a string of inmate deaths and a long-term lockdown that kept prisoners confined to their cells for weeks. Seven inmates have died while in custody during the past 12 months.

Over 100 people attended a town hall meeting hosted by the ACLU of Georgia, Cobb County Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Cobb County NAACP and La Gente de Cobb to discuss the conditions at the Cobb County Detention Center Monday, Dec. 9, 2019 at Life Church in Marietta, Ga. PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE

The Sheriff’s Office has rejected charges that staffing shortages at the jail have been behind the deaths and the lockdown, which went into effect in late September after two guards were allegedly assaulted by three inmates. The department argues that many of its inmates have a variety of preexisting medical conditions and as well as mental health conditions. Its medical staff provide initial health screening as well as ongoing medical treatment through third-party healthcare providers,” the sheriff’s office previously said.

The Cobb sheriff’s office currently has about 2,100 inmates housed at the jail. It receives and releases about 25,000 people per year, a sheriff’s spokesman said.

MARIETTA Executive Director of ACLU Georgia Andrea Young speaks during a town hall meeting to discuss the conditions at the Cobb County Detention Center Monday, Dec. 9, 2019 at Life Church in Marietta, Ga.

PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE