Following the Georgia indictment of former President Donald Trump, a spotlight returned to the “dilapidated” and “unhygienic” jail where he is expected to surrender himself.
(Video: Fox 5 Atlanta)
One need not be a noted germaphobe like the former president to recognize the conditions of the Fulton County Jail have surpassed deplorable. In fact, with 15 deaths at the facility last year, according to Atlanta magazine, the facility that Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat has bemoaned is currently under a Department of Justice investigation.
Back in April, Fox 5 Atlanta had been granted a look inside the jail on Rice Street where overcrowding had left some inmates sleeping in “doggy-style plastic trays.” Worse still, as some inmates reported having gone days without being able to shower, in Sept. 2022 inmate LaShawn Thompson was said to have died in his cell “covered in insects and filth.”
Speaking with Newsweek, attorney Michael B. Harper had said, “If you see the photos of the cell that this man was in, you’re gonna be outraged.”
Tuesday, following the indictment of Trump and 18 co-defendants for an alleged “criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia’s presidential election result,” Fulton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Natalie Ammons indicated the facility in question was where they were to report by noon Friday, Aug. 25.
“At this point, based on guidance received from the district attorney’s office and presiding judge, it is expected that all 19 defendants named in the indictment will be booked at the Rice Street Jail,” Ammons said in a statement to the press. “Keep in mind, defendants can turn themselves in at any time. The jail is open 24/7. Also, due to the unprecedented nature of this case, some circumstances may change with little or no warning.”
Even before the indictment had been announced, Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat had asserted that Trump would be processed the same as any other arrest and said, “Unless somebody tells me differently, we are following our normal practices, and so it doesn’t matter your status. We’ll have a mug shot ready for you.”
Fulton County sheriff promises a Trump mugshot if the former president is indicted in Georgiahttps://t.co/8Lr23kxrHf
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) August 2, 2023
Meanwhile, last month Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Justice Department launched an investigation of the facility that, according to the Southern Center for Human Rights, provides “unhygienic living conditions” and he reminded, “People in prisons and jails are entitled to basic protections of their civil rights.”
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division had joined him in stating, “The unconstitutional conditions that we see too often inside jails and prisons have no place in society today.”
“All Georgians deserve fairness from the institutions that serve us, including our jails,” U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan of the Northern District of Georgia weighed in. “The recent allegations of filthy housing teeming with insects, rampant violence resulting in death and injuries, and officers using excessive force are cause for grave concerns and warrant a thorough investigation. This investigation is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure that citizens are safe, and their constitutional rights protected, even while they are in custody.”
Labat himself had said at the time, “I have publicly, privately, and repeatedly raised concerns about the dangerous overcrowding, dilapidated infrastructure and critical staffing shortages at the jail,” and that he hoped the Justice Department would find “that the Rice Street Jail is not viable and a replacement jail is needed.”
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