Two jails: same population, $20 million budget gap

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Atlanta’s Fulton County Commission wants to know whether county sheriff Jackie Barrett is mismanaging her $78 million budget and whether mismanagement has created an unsafe jail, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Barrett wants a higher budget, but commissioners want to see whether the jail is using “best practices” to get the most for its money. An outside firm will be hired to review the sheriff’s department. Commissioner Robb Pitts was concerned that Barrett has a $78 million budget, while DeKalb County’s Sheriff’s Department has a $58 million budget. Both run jails with roughly 2,600 inmates.

“Something must be out of kilter,” Pitts said.

Barrett called the comparison “apples and oranges.” She said her medical costs jumped several million dollars a year because of a federal lawsuit settlement. She was uncertain why other costs were higher.


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