The City of Atlanta and Fulton County have reached an agreement for the city to temporarily lease up to 700 beds from the Atlanta City Detention Center to alleviate overcrowding in the Fulton County Jail and other facilities.
Councilmember Michael Julian Bond introduced the ordinance for the four-year agreement at the Aug. 1 meeting. Both the Atlanta City Council and the Fulton County Board of Commissioners must approve the agreement.
The Buckhead Public Safety Task Force recently recommended in its report that the Atlanta jail be used to house Fulton inmates.
Mayor Andre Dickens is additionally announcing his intention to work with the Atlanta City Council to repurpose the Atlanta City Detention Center following the end of the lease agreement, according to a news release.
“As I have continually supported since my time on the Atlanta City Council, I remain committed to fully repurposing the ACDC facility for non-incarceration purposes,” Dickens said in the release.
“But we are also confronted by a real and immediate crisis of overcrowding at the Fulton County Jail. Many of these detainees are Atlanta residents, and our conscience calls us to act. This temporary lease agreement will allow the City of Atlanta to play a role in alleviating this humanitarian crisis and provide the time necessary for Fulton County to develop and implement a long-term solution,” he said.
Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat has described overcrowding at Fulton County’s Rice Street Jail as a crisis that has left detainees having to sleep on the ground.
The agreement would see the transfer of approximately 250 inmates from the Fulton County Jail annex in Union City and up to approximately 450 low- to medium-custody level detainees from other facilities.
Atlanta’s work to develop and open the Center for Diversion and Services as part of the repurposing of the ACDC property is on track to open in 2023 and will be unaffected by this agreement, according to the city. The city will also soon release a Request for Information to seek proposals for alternative uses of the building at the end of the lease agreement with Fulton County.
Dickens intends to invest revenue from the agreement in public safety, diversion services and homelessness services “that are priorities of the administration,” according to the release.