Fulton County Jail Under Federal Investigation After Inmate Found Covered In ‘Lice And Filth’
The U.S. Department of Justice has started investigating the conditions that prisoners in one of Georgia’s jails have had to contend with.
In a recent announcement, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said that a civil rights investigation is taking place due to the conditions at Fulton County Jail.
“We are here today to announce that the United States Department of Justice is launching a civil investigation into the Fulton County Jail in Fulton County, Georgia. This investigation will be comprehensive,” said Clarke. “We will examine living conditions in the Fulton County Jail, access to medical care and mental health care, use of excessive force by staff, and conditions that may give rise to violence between people incarcerated at the facility. The investigation will also examine whether the Fulton County Jail discriminates against incarcerated people with psychiatric disabilities.”
Clarke also stated that since the prison population is 87% Black and is being mistreated, this is considered a racial justice issue.
Several instances were cited that prompted the investigation, such as the case of LaShawn Thompson, who was jailed with a psychiatric illness and passed away in September 2022. Thompson’s body was covered in lice and filth when he died in a cell in the jail’s mental health unit. He died of severe neglect.
Violence has been a major issue in Georgia jails, with more than one stabbing a day at one point in 2022. A sheriff’s search revealed more than 200 weapons at the central prison facility. Three people were killed at the jail in 2022, with one victim’s body hidden for hours before it was discovered.
The central jail has been “dilapidated and rapidly eroding.” Local news crews aired footage revealing flooding inside housing units and walls with giant holes.
There are currently two Fulton County detention officers facing state charges; one officer allegedly choked a female arrestee while she was being booked at the Alpharetta jail.
The Georgia prisons aren’t the only ones the Justice Department is looking into. Clarke also said investigations are being pursued in Alabama and Mississippi, among other states.