Fulton Jail begins releasing nonviolent pre-trial detainees

A corrections officer looks in a jail cell during a tour of the Fulton County Jail on Monday, December 9, 2019, in Atlanta. (Elijah Nouvelage/Special to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

With health officials warning that the coronavirus could spread rapidly through detention facilities, Fulton County Jail has begun releasing pre-trial detainees charged with non-violent offenses.

Fifteen people have been released so far, with more likely to follow, said Tracy Flanagan, spokeswoman for the Fulton sheriff’s office.

“Jail staff are evaluating persons with release dates to determine whether they can be released early,” Flanagan said.

Earlier this week 32 inmates had first appearance hearings. Of those, 21 received signature bonds and were sent home, Flanagan said. The 11 that remained were being held on more serious charges, she said.

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In a letter posted to its website Wednesday, the ACLU of Georgia urged Gov. Brian Kemp to release inmates held on a “technical supervision violation” or those identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “particularly vulnerable” whose sentence concludes in the next two years.

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