Protests continue over mold, conditions at DeKalb County jail

Dekalb County Jail. AJC file photo. (Renee’ Hannans/Staff)

Dekalb County Jail. AJC file photo. (Renee’ Hannans/Staff)

This story has been updated with corrected budget information for jail repairs.

Social media posts about mold and abuses inside the DeKalb County jail have led to a second week of protests.

Pictures and complaints circulated on Instagram and Twitter last week, including allegations that prisoners were not receiving medical care and had been served moldy food.

"DeKalb jail is mistreating us," an inmate wrote on a disposable food tray, according to one image that was posted.

Meg Dudukovich got involved with prisoner-rights group Atlanta Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee after seeing the viral posts. She said current and former inmates and their families have provided information about deteriorating conditions at the 24-year-old jail, and the Sheriff’s Office has been slow to respond.

“They’ve been very dodgy about all the questions,” Dudukovich said.

For the past two years, DeKalb Sheriff Jeffrey Mann has requested more funding in the county budget to address mold and aging equipment. Last year, he received $1.5 million in emergency funding to address mold and plumbing issues.

» Related | After mold discovery, fixes coming to DeKalb jail

Mann requested  another $9.5 million in the 2019 budget to fix up the 1 million square-foot facility, but the county commission and CEO Michael Thurmond approved just $864,835.

Atlanta Incarcerated Workers is planning a protest outside the jail on Memorial Drive at 5:30 p.m. tonight.

The first protest last Friday attracted about 50 people. The group reported that four people were arrested after protesters pushed their way into the jail lobby with bread they said they wanted to give prisoners.