Sheriff Jackie Barrett of Atlanta told a federal judge yesterday that she was ready to give up control of the Fulton County Jail, saying it would be a “positive step” if he replaced her, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution. U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob had set a hearing tomorrow on whether Barrett is fit to oversee the jail, which houses more than 3,000 inmates. The Southern Center for Human Rights recently filed a lawsuit asserting that overcrowding and a deteriorating infrastructure endanger deputies and inmates alike. The suit seeks federal intervention.
Barrett told Shoob that a receiver should be named with the ability to hire more staff, order repairs, and direct the state to take prisoners who have been convicted of crimes. Though overseeing the jail is the sheriff’s main job, Barrett will remain as sheriff, earning $135,000, until her term expires Dec. 31. She will not seek re-election for a fourth term. Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed a panel of three law enforcement officials to investigate whether Barrett, the nation’s first elected black female sheriff, should be suspended. He asked for a recommendation within 30 days.