Hundreds of inmates from the over-crowded, staff-challenged Fulton County jail could soon be moved to leased bedspace in a jail with lots of free space, the Atlanta City Detention Center.
There are currently 500 Fulton County inmates sleeping on cots on the floor. Sheriff Pat Labat warned two weeks ago that the conditions at the jail were dire and putting inmates’ lives at risk.
“I am moving in a space where people’s lives are in danger,” Labat said at the time.
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Though Mayor Andre Dickens helped negotiate the deal to transfer prisoners months ago, the City Council only approved the legislation pending a population review.
Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne learned Monday that the review is nearing completion. When it’s finished, most of the detention center’s 1,314 beds will open up for Fulton County Jail inmates. There are currently only about 40 inmates at the detention center.
“I’m convinced that when we’re able to move individuals from the Fulton County jail, we’ll get people off the floor, treat them like they are human, and we’ll be able to save lives,” Labat said.
A spokesperson for the mayor texted Winne Monday, saying,
“Per the ordinance passed by the Atlanta City Council, the City of Atlanta will proceed with entering into an intergovernmental agreement with Fulton County on the use of the Atlanta City Detention Center.”
Labat said the transfer of inmates is a temporary fix, but it is a first step to saving lives.
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Overcrowding is a potential factor in a string of recent deaths at the jail.
He said he’s also concerned about crime victims.
“We have victims of crime that need to be represented, and that’s my job as a sheriff,” Labat said.
Around 95% of inmates at the Fulton County Jail are charged with felonies.