Atlanta mayor calls Fulton sheriff’s latest jail request ‘perplexing’

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms makes remarks during a COVID-19 vaccine mobilization rally at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, June 18, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
Caption
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms makes remarks during a COVID-19 vaccine mobilization rally at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, June 18, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has fired back at Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat’s latest request to use the Atlanta City Detention Center to house inmates from Fulton’s overcrowded jail.

Bottoms wrote a letter Wednesday to Labat saying his own data shows Fulton does not need 500 additional beds, which is what Labat wants to use at Atlanta’s building. She also pushed back on Labat’s request by saying he already has facilities he is “unable to staff,” and that he can lease space from other neighboring counties to reduce Fulton’s jail population.

ExploreFulton Sheriff: I’ll lead the negotiations with Atlanta over jail

The mayor wants to close Atlanta’s detention center due in part to activists seeking less incarceration. She wants to repurpose the building as a community center, but she’s currently negotiating with Fulton on leasing 150 of the center’s 1,300 beds. She also wants the inmates housed as part of a re-entry program.

“This makes the fixation on taking ACDC as the primary solution to the County’s historical challenges...even more perplexing,” Bottoms wrote. “We have an opportunity and obligation to lift up these data-driven solutions, not just seek what is politically expedient.”

Labat said weeks ago that only 10 of his 3,000 inmates would be eligible if the re-entry program was required for their deal. He recently wrote a letter to Bottoms, city council members and Fulton commissioners saying the Fulton County Commission wants him to take over negotiations on behalf of the county.

Councilman Julian Michael Bond said the next step is to appoint people to a joint committee aimed at considering a lease/sale of the city’s detention center to the county, an effort he spear-headed.

AJC staff writer J.D. Capelouto contributed to this story.

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