ATLANTA—Today, the ACLU of Georgia filed an open records request to obtain maintenance records for the Fulton County Jail amid continuing concerns about the health and well-being of people being housed at the facility.
The records request is part of ongoing efforts by the ACLU of Georgia and other organizations to improve conditions at the jail and reduce the number of people in detention. Last week, the ACLU of Georgia was among a coalition of advocacy organizations that sent a letter to Fulton County, Atlanta officials, Sheriff Patrick “Pat” Labat, and chief judges about the jail’s horrid conditions. The letter reiterated the group’s stance that allowing a new jail to be built, without any accountability for addressing the systemic issues, will continue to expose the county to lawsuits. Recently, Sheriff Labat asked the County for an additional $27 million to keep the jail running. To date, the advocacy organizations have not received a response to the demands included in the letter.
ACLU’s analysis published in September 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.
The County has three business days to respond to the open records request. Read the request here.