Renewed Scrutiny on Fulton County Jail as Trump and Co-Defendants Face Processing Amidst Lingering Issues

 Renewed Scrutiny on Fulton County Jail as Trump and Co-Defendants Face Processing Amidst Lingering Issues

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Former President Donald Trump and 18 others, indicted in District Attorney Fani Willis’ election interference probe, are anticipated to present themselves for processing at Fulton County Jail this week, shedding light on renewed scrutiny of the facility. This comes in the wake of disturbing statistics: in 2022, 15 inmates lost their lives within its walls, and seven more have tragically succumbed this year.

One particularly harrowing incident involved LaShawn Thompson, whose shocking demise drew national attention. He was found to have been “eaten alive by insects and bedbugs” in an unsanitary cell, ultimately succumbing to “dehydration, malnutrition, severe body insect infestation, and untreated decompensated schizophrenia.” This revelation led to the resignation of several jail executives and prompted a comprehensive civil investigation by the Department of Justice into the jail’s conditions, according to ABC.

The impending processing of Trump and his co-defendants has brought to the forefront concerns about a perceived double standard in the justice system, particularly for white-collar individuals.

Fulton County Jail, colloquially known as “Rice Street,” has been grappling with a litany of issues, including overcrowding, inmate fatalities, incidents of excessive force by officers, structural deficiencies, outbreaks of lice and scabies, and inmate malnutrition. Multiple reports from the DOJ and nonprofit watchdog organizations have documented these problems.

Public records, obtained by the Southern Center for Human Rights, revealed that during a September 2022 outbreak, 100% of inmates in a specific unit were affected by lice, scabies, or both. Shockingly, 90% of those afflicted were significantly malnourished.

Terrica Ganzy, the executive director of SCHR, expressed her dismay at the deplorable condition of the inmates, remarking, “The fact that people held in the custody of Fulton County are so malnourished and ill that they are experiencing muscle wasting commonly seen in people with late-stage cancers is horrifying.”

In stark contrast, when Trump arrives at the facility for processing, he is expected to spend only a few hours inside, a glaring disparity compared to many defendants who endure weeks of incarceration awaiting trial or release on bond.

Tragically, some inmates have met grim fates within the confines of the jail. Christopher Smith, 34, waited nearly four years for his trial to begin before passing away. In another heart-wrenching incident, an inmate in a mental health unit was discovered dead with his wrists and ankles bound in October.

Furthermore, financial constraints have resulted in fatal outcomes for some behind bars. Alexander Hawkins, 66, died in a medical unit cell while awaiting trial for a shoplifting charge, despite being held on a relatively low bond of $5,000.

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