As Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, I appreciate the thoroughness and the seriousness with which Fulton County Grand Jurors approached their investigations into any possible issues in our schools and the county jail. Their hard work and focus on improving two of our most important institutions is something that I commend.
I remain concerned about ongoing issues at the county jail, especially in light of the fact that we are under a Consent Decree which called for a number of changes at the Jail. Of the 116 issues identified in the federal consent decree, Fulton County has resolved 114 of them. For example, the county provided full funding for additional needed positions within the jail and more than a billion dollars have already been spent on improvements and additional personnel.
Just this week, I requested a substantive and meaningful dialogue to discuss with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed the use of the Atlanta City Jail to alleviate overcrowding issues. I would hope that we could quickly come to an agreement to use that facility for a fair price since it is in everyone’s interest to do so.
The county has already begun investigating other alternatives to long term incarceration for non-violent offenders. We have seen improvements in that regard because of diversion programs including drug court and veterans’ court. We take seriously the recommendation that such efforts be increased and that we look at any processing issues in the jail. The county also will take a long look at issues regarding the health care given to mentally ill inmates. We already have a mental health evaluation in place for such prisoners and that process will be part of further scrutiny.
We remain committed to resolving remaining issues in the jail and ensuring that happens quickly and efficiently.
Fulton County Commission Chairman