Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail was holding hundreds of inmates beyond the limit in a proposed federal agreement to ease overcrowding as of last Friday, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A plan by Sheriff Myron Freeman to lower the jail population to safe and acceptable levels by transferring inmates to lockups outside the county seems far from a done deal. Both sides in a lawsuit against the jail are waiting for the Fulton County Commission to approve the proposed agreement, which limits inmate population and sets other conditions.
Stephen Bright of the Southern Center for Human Rights, which sued the county over jail conditions, called the overcrowding “troubling.” The center played a key role in crafting the proposed consent order that will go to U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob once the commissioners have accepted it. As of Friday, the jail and two annexes held a combined 3,087 inmates, and 74 more inmates were housed in leased cells at the Alpharetta City Jail. The consent agreement calls for no more than 2,250 in the main jail and 300 in the two annexes. Freeman also said he plans to send inmates to lockups in southern Georgia, but officials at three facilities about 200 miles south of Atlanta said there were no agreements or ongoing negotiations with Fulton County.