The idea to partner with Fulton, sponsored by Councilman Michael Julian Bond, is facing pushback from criminal justice reform activists who are advocating for the closure of the city’s detention center. A coalition of community activism groups held a rally in Buckhead on Friday morning and addressed the proposals in Bond’s resolution.
“We know that they are not actually solutions to making our community safe,” Bridgette Simpson, a community organizer with Women on the Rise, said at the rally. “We demand that the [city] jail be closed … to build and truly create public safety in our community.”
Simpson said the leaders of the downtown, Midtown and Buckhead nonprofits do not speak for all of the residents in those communities.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms also supports closing the city detention center and repurposing the property as a community center focused on equity. Another pending City Council resolution, which sets up the closure of the city jail within 15 months, is supported by Bottoms and is being held in the council’s public safety committee.
The nonprofit CEOs’ letter comes days after the Working Families Party partnered with the Communities Over Cages: Close the Jail ATL Campaign to release a new video advertisement targeting Bond, former mayoral candidate and councilwoman Mary Norwood, and new Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat. Specifically, the ad slams the three politicians for their resistance to efforts to close the Atlanta City Detention Center downtown.
The downtown, Midtown and Buckhead business leaders stressed in their letter that “this is an issue with critical implications for our City.”
“A joint task force will provide the best strategy to cooperatively guide public safety reform, while keeping citizens informed and potentially avoiding the substantial cost to taxpayers of converting the City Detention Center for a different purpose while building yet another detention center,” the letter stated.