The Fulton County Jail and it’s myriad of issues over conditions inside the jail and a slew of deaths over the past several months – 10 in as many months – county and jail officials are considering either either reducing the number of inmates by 1,000, bringing the number of those incarcerated to 1,300, it’s top capacity or closing the troubled facility altogether.
In the midst of mounting controversy and criticism family members of a Fulton County inmate found dead inside his cell are demanding answers and justice. Montay Stinson was found dead in his cell last month with no obvious signs of injury. The family will release details of the deceased inmates autopsy during a press conference on Tuesday, Sept. 26.
The horror stories emanating from detainees and visitors to the Rice Street facility continue to surface following the highly publicized death of an inmate, LaShawn Thompson, who was apparently eaten alive by bed bugs.
The county just recently approved a multimillion-dollar settlement for the death of Lashawn Thompson, the inmate found covered in bed bug bites.
“It was a mediated settlement, all parties came together to discuss the facts and life expectancy and things of that nature that go into such a decision, and then the final analysis was we agreed on a $4 million settlement,” said Robb Pitts, chairman, Fulton County Board of Commissioners.
A number of local officials have repeatedly called for an investigation into the jails conditions and several have recommended closing the facility altogether due to inhumane treatment of inmates housed there, many of who have not been convicted of any crime.
Earlier this year a coalition of civic groups and advocacy organizations sent a letter to Fulton County executives, Atlanta officials, Sheriff Patrick “Pat” Labat, and chief judges about the jail’s horrid conditions.
The letter reiterated the group’s opposition to Sheriff Labatt’s request for an additional $27 million dollars to keep the jail running without any accountability for addressing the systemic issues.
To date, the advocacy organizations have not received a response to the demands included in the letter.
The American Civil Liberties Union suggested officials explore reducing the jail population through alternatives such as pre-arrest diversion programs for people experiencing poverty, mental health concerns, and substance use.
“We were disappointed that Sheriff Labat has threatened litigation rather than turn these records over to the Fulton County Commission. Ten months after neglect and poor conditions killed LaShawn Thompson, the people of Fulton County deserve to know what is being done to prevent future deaths at the Fulton County Jail,” said ACLU of Georgia Deputy Director of Policy and Advocacy Fallon McClure.