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Thursday, Sept 23: GA House Committee Hearing on Crisis in GA Prisons

On Tuesday, September 14, the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division announced a sweeping investigation into Georgia prisons, one year to the day after SCHR first asked for their intervention as our prison system descended to a new level of crisis amid the unmitigated spread of COVID-19. In July, as the Delta variant raged in Georgia, GDC took down their COVID dashboard, leaving the public in the dark and leaving people who live and work in prisons and surrounding communities, indeed all of Georgia, at increased risk. Severe understaffing has exacerbated the problems of violence and neglect, leaving incarcerated people to fend for themselves against violent attacks and in medical emergencies. September 10, SCHR and Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton, LLP filed a lawsuit against Georgia State Prison, which houses people in unconstitutional conditions of solitary confinement. Between September 2019 and May 2021, at least 12 people died by suicide at GSP alone- contributing to the devastating loss of life behind the razor wire in Georgia. 

State Representatives Josh McLaurin and Kim Schofield co-chair a House Democratic Caucus Committee that will hold a public hearing on the crisis in GA prisons tomorrow at the GA State Capitol, Sept. 23 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Rep. Schofield stands beside Stephanie Lee, whose son Justin was killed at Smith SP, at a protest Friday Sept. 17 outside the Capitol.

“These problems reflect a breakdown in basic security and organizational management. We recently learned that the U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into prison conditions in Georgia. This is welcome news. But, regardless of this new investigation and the likelihood of federal intervention in the long term, as state leaders we have a responsibility to address this emergency immediately.” -Reps. McLaurin and Schofield

The hearing will be available for the public to join virtually here at 1pm ET Thursday.