Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

Athens Jail Overcrowded

Posted by Maggie on October 29, 2007

Clarke County–home of Athens, GA and the victorious Dawgs–has a problem. They’re currently spending over a million dollars to loan out inmates that can’t fit in the county jail. The problem isn’t necessarily even high crime. The Athens Banner-Herald is reporting that 72% of the inmates are awaiting bond or a hearing. Meaning they don’t have bond or they can’t make bond.

I’ve been reading Gideon’s following of the overcrowding issue going on in Connecticut right now. Shockingly, the Sheriff doesn’t want to lock up more people. He actually suggested the police quit arresting people for minor offenses and just issue citations. The police chief’s reaction:

“I can’t tell my officers not to arrest that rapist, not to arrest that burglar,” Lumpkin said.

To be fair, Lumpkin also said that when they’re dealing with rowdy crowds they’re more likely to arrest to break things up. But I doubt “rowdy crowds” make up such a large proportion of jails. Many cops I’ve dealt with are more than happy to lock up a guy he knows won’t make bail.

It isn’t clear whether the County is going to go along with the Sheriff’s suggestion. The jail isn’t projected to be able to keep up over the years, but a new jail means more money. Hopefully all the PD’s in Clarke County are fighting hard for bail.

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