ATLANTA - A candidate for Atlanta mayor has a strong suggestion for the city's detention center. He says it should be closed for good, and that only the Fulton County Jail should hold inmates.
Another Metro Atlanta city recently took similar steps.
More than $30 million a year -- that's how much it cost the City of Atlanta to fully operate the detention center.
Now, mayoral candidate John Eaves is suggesting that it be shut down and that the city primarily use the Fulton County Jail to house inmates. The Fulton County facility operates on a $67 million budget, including medical services and jail expenses.
"In my opinion, we need to get rid of the Atlanta Detention Center," Eaves said, "And redirect the resources."
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Former Fulton County Chairman Eaves's proposal is not the first in metro Atlanta. The city of Roswell recently closed their detention center and now only uses the Fulton County Jail to house inmates.
The proposal to close the detention center is viewed as a way for the city to save money and consolidate the two jail facilities in Atlanta.
The city operates the detention center. When asked about the proposal by 11Alive News, a city spokesperson scoffed at the notion. The city released a statement to 11Alive News Wednesday afternoon:
“For eight years of John Eaves’ tenure as Commission Chairman, the Fulton County Jail was under a federal consent decree for overcrowding, unsanitary and unsafe conditions. This is nothing but a publicity stunt from John Eaves, who will soon join the ranks of other ex-officials who have sought the office of mayor and failed.
The Atlanta City Detention Center plays a key role in protecting public safety in the City of Atlanta, is well-run and treats inmates with dignity and respect.”
We looked into Fulton County Jail which takes in inmates from Alpharetta, East Point, Sandy Springs Union City and more. The jail primarily houses serious offenders with felony charges like murder, assault, battery, and the list goes on.
The city's detention center primarily houses those with misdemeanors and has an average daily population of 500 people.
The Fulton County Jail can house up to 2,500 inmates -- and 23,000 inmates annually.
"I think that the hard-earned dollar of the Atlanta resident should be better utilized in terms of prevention as opposed to incarceration," Eaves said.
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