Everything That Is Wrong With US Prisons in One Picture

disturbing image hit the newswires this week, highlighting the barbaric conditions that are all too common in the American prison system. The photo shows a young prisoner in Georgia, who appears to be badly beaten, on his knees with a makeshift leash around his neck, while two other prisoners pose behind him, one holding the leash.

Incredibly, Georgia prison officials have focused their public reaction on the fact that the photo was apparently taken with a contraband cellphone, as if that were the cause of the brutality on display.

DeKalb settles lawsuit over jailing of poor defendants

By Carrie Teegardin - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DeKalb County has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit accusing it of improperly jailing poor people who couldn’t afford misdemeanor probation plans at Recorder’s Court.

The settlement comes as DeKalb County is restructuring its courts as required under new legislation that eliminates its Recorder’s Court and transfers its traffic cases to DeKalb County State Court.

Thompson v DeKalb County

On January 29, 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Georgia filed a federal lawsuit challenging debt collection practices that have resulted in the jailing of people simply because they are poor. The case was brought on behalf of Kevin Thompson, a black teenager in DeKalb County, Georgia, who was jailed because he could not afford to pay court fines and probation company fees stemming from a traffic ticket. 

The ACLU charged that DeKalb County and the for-profit company Judicial Correction Services, Inc. (JCS) teamed up to engage in a coercive debt collection scheme that focused on revenue generation at the expense of protecting poor people's rights.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM ACLU-GA ON CHAMBLEE SHOOTING

The ACLU-GA would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Anthony Hill. Unfortunately this case is not an isolated incident. Far too many Americans who have mental disabilities die every year in police encounters, and many more are seriously injured. People of color with disabilities are disproportionately affected. At this time we join the Atlanta Police Chief in noting the importance of increased training for police on excessive use of force, especially in regards to interactions with people with mental disabilities.

Georgia: Enact Reform Bill on For-Profit Probation

Would Impose Transparency, Curb Abuse, Protect Rights of Poor

A bill passed today by Georgia’s House of Representatives includes important and far-reaching reforms of the state’s abuse-ridden for-profit probation industry, Human Rights Watch, the national American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLU of GA) said today.  The bill will next be considered by the state Senate.

House Bill 310’s provisions on private probation represent months of hard work by Governor Nathan Deal’s Criminal Justice Reform Council to address what its co-chair has called the “moral imperative” to deal with the “inequities and abuses” of the state’s for-profit probation industry.

Immigration enforcement program to be replaced in jails nationwide

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By Jeremy Redmon

For years, immigrant rights activists have fought to shut down a controversial immigration enforcement program operating in jails in Georgia and across the nation.

Started during the George W. Bush administration, the Secure Communities program works by comparing inmates’ fingerprints against immigration records in federal databases. Supporters say the program has substantially curbed illegal immigration. Critics say it ensnares low-level offenders with families and deep roots in the U.S.

Politics still makes strange bedfellows under Gold Dome

By Kyle Wingfield
Atlanta Journal Constitution

Which of these groups does not belong with the others: the ACLU, the tea party, Common Cause or Americans for Prosperity?

If you think they could all fit in a coalition under the Gold Dome, give yourself a peach-colored star.

This era is known for its polarization in Washington, and Georgians on the left and the right certainly have their differences about how state legislators should address certain issues. But unlike in national politics, diverse coalitions still can and do emerge on high-profile state issues.

The ACLU and Common Cause have reputations as liberal groups, particularly nationally; the tea party and Americans for Prosperity lean solidly to the right. But representatives of those four outfits, along with the libertarian Institute for Justice, are pushing legislators to change Georgia’s civil asset forfeiture laws -- which allow law enforcement to confiscate private property without a criminal conviction, or in many cases even a criminal charge.

Solutions NOT Punishment

DAY of OUTRAGE
Enough is Enough!

ts time to make Atlanta a better city for all of us.

We demand an end to the practices of profiling and harassment.

We demand solutions that do not criminalize our communities.

Tuesday, February 25th
Atlanta City Hall, Mitchell Street Entrance
2:00 Press Conference and Rally

Community Leaders Hold “Shut Down Stewart” March and Vigil

On Friday, November 22 at 10 am, Georgia Detention Watch will hold its sixth annual vigil at Corrections Corporation of America-operated Stewart Detention Center. The vigil coincides with the release of Detention Watch Network’s (DWN) report, “Expose and Close, One Year Later: The Absence of Accountability in Immigration Detention,” The report documents the current state of the immigration detention system, afflicted by deaths and suicides, subpar medical and mental healthcare, inedible food, and arbitrary restrictions on visitation and access to legal resources.

While the congressional debate on immigration reform ensues, the mass detention of immigrants across the U.S. has been largely ignored. Located in rural Southwest Georgia, the Stewart Detention Center detains approximately 2,000 immigrant men. Stewart is one of Georgia’s four immigration detention centers and the largest in the U.S.

Policing Shouldn't be for Profit

Under civil asset forfeiture laws, police can take people's money and property without making an arrest. They just have to suspect the assets are tied in some way to illicit activity. Since much of the money police seize ends up paying their own salaries and bankrolling their departments, they have a strong incentive to abuse these laws.

If you would like to learn more about the ACLU of Georgia’s efforts to reform civil asset forfeiture in Georgia, please sign up for our legislative action alerts at http://www.acluga.org/get-involved/action-alerts/

Watch the video here: https://www.aclu.org/policing-for-profit

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