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Metro Atlanta Jails Remain in Crisis

As much of the country underwent a dangerous, abnormally cold snap in late December, residents across the South lost access to power and water as pipes froze and burst. People living at the Fulton County Jail were forced to use trash bags as toilets, forgo showers and access to water, and endure frigid indoor temperatures after a frozen pipe burst. People in the jail were without water for at least three days.

Also in Fulton County, in a move that SCHR has publicly opposed for months, the lease allowing 700 people currently detained in Fulton County facilities’ eventual transfer to the near-empty Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC) was finalized. The agreement preempts ACDC’s planned closure and repurposing as a community center, and exports Fulton County’s dangerous mismanagement and jailing practices to the city of Atlanta.

At the Clayton County Jail, conditions were similar to Fulton County. Frozen burst pipes and the ensuing lost power and water meant freezing indoor temperatures and no access to bathrooms or showers for days on end, leading family members and loved ones to raise the alarm with local media.

At the DeKalb County Jail, Anthony Lamar Walker and Jackson Orukpete were found dead in their cells on December 27th. They were 34 and 57 years old, respectively. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation will investigate their deaths, as will the DeKalb Sheriff’s Office.