ATLANTA – Today, the ACLU of Georgia replied to the Cobb County Sheriff’s response to its open records request regarding conditions at its Adult Detention Center. The Sheriff’s Office has stated it could produce some but not all of the requested records.
“The Sheriff’s Office has a duty to the public to be transparent in its operations, something it has failed to do in this situation. These records will shine a necessary light to hold the Sheriff’s Office accountable,” said Kosha Tucker, staff attorney with the ACLU of Georgia. “We remain determined to protect the constitutional rights and ensure the safety and well-being of all people detained at the Cobb County Detention Center.”
The Sheriff’s Office has stated that it will provide the following records.
- An electronic copy of all Cobb County Adult Detention Center (“Detention Center”) policies and procedures, minus chapter four, as it is exempt from the Georgia Open Records Act;
- A complete copy of the Detention Center’s logbooks from all units/pods from September 1, 2019 to the present;
- All incident reports from all units/pods from September 1, 2019 to the present, excluding those incidents that are still under investigation;
- Two Internal Affairs case files;
- Three Criminal Investigation case files;
- A copy of the Sheriff’s Office or Detention Center’s current contract(s) with mental health and/or medical care provider(s);
- Sign-in sheets for mental health staff from September 1, 2019 to the present.
The Sheriff’s Office failed to disclose the following data it possesses and maintains and which are public records under the Georgia Open Records Act.
- The number of complaints by incarcerated people alleging any abuse or misconduct by Detention Center staff from January 1, 2018 to the present;
- The daily count of incarcerated people, disaggregated by status (sentenced or unsentenced) and by location (unit or pod, general population, solitary confinement, etc) from September 1, 2019 to present;
- The number of staff/personnel employed at the Cobb County Detention Center, disaggregated by title/role, including, but not limited to the number of Sheriff’s deputies assigned to the facility;
- The number of vacancies in the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, disaggregated by division.
The Detention Center has been on lockdown since September with allegations that incarcerated people are confined to their cells for almost 24 hours a day. The only break from this 24-hour confinement appears to be for 15-minute showers on some days.
Additional allegations include the jail failing to permit visitation with family, delaying access to all mail, and preventing personal phone calls with loved ones. These solitary confinement-like conditions, if true, potentially violate the U.S. Constitution and federal law. Mail and visitation are also constitutionally protected rights for people who are incarcerated.
The ACLU of Georgia is co-hosting a town hall on Monday, December 9, 2019, to listen to the community’s concerns. The town hall will be at Life Church, 1839 Powder Springs Rd SW in Marietta. Doors open at 6:30pm and the program begins at 7:00pm.