The Georgia Advocacy Office filed a new federal lawsuit Wednesday saying mentally ill women are being held in conditions that increase the risk for psychological harm.
“People should know what’s been happening in there,” Hooks said.
County Commissioner Robb Pitts told Hooks and others that he would meet with them about their concerns at the end of the meeting; the protesters interrupted a discussion about when items needed to be placed on an agenda in order to be heard by the board.
During a brief conversation with the protesters after the meeting ended, Pitts said he was concerned about what they had shared.
“You have our commitment to get out there as quickly as possible,” he said.
Commissioners Marvin Arrington and Natalie Hall also came to address the protesters after the commission meeting. Hall said there was “no way this board of commissioners is going to allow those conditions to continue,” while Arrington said he was moved by the protest, but limited in what he and others could do. The county commission provides a budget to the sheriff for running the jail, but the sheriff can use the money as he pleases.
“To some extent, our hands are tied,” Arrington said.
Hooks called the issues at the jail “a state of emergency” and said the women there were suffering.
“Something has to give,” she said. “Enough is enough.”
Fulton County had been leasing the jail in Union City since 2013 to ease overcrowding at the Rice Street jail before buying it last year. Fulton County has a history of problems at its jail, including a number of lawsuits that have been filed regarding overcrowding and poor conditions.