FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — The Fulton County Commission has approved the deal to allow the sheriff to house inmates in the Atlanta City Detention Center in order to ease overcrowding at the jail.
After another hours-long debate Wednesday, the commission voted 4-2 to approve the deal. The leasing deal is for four years and it allows up to 700 inmates to be housed there.
Women will be moved first, then men will be moved into the detention center – at an estimated 100 inmates per month. Fulton County said it doesn't have enough deputies to move the inmates at a faster rate.
The deal means Fulton County will pay $50 per night to house each inmate.
After four years, the county hopes to move more people through the court system quickly, so there is no longer a need for the detention center.
However, not all the commissioners are happy about the deal. Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman called the lease a "cash cow for Atlanta." She thought it would be difficult to go back.
“The problem I have is, four years becomes eight years," she explained.
Sheriff representatives said they have no incentives to keep paying Atlanta to house inmates.
On Monday night, the city council also approved the deal with a vote of 10-4.
Community activists have been vocal about wanting the city to convert the old and mostly unused jail into a social-services center. However, Mayor Dickens told the council last Monday that plan will have to wait.
“In four years, once we cut off this process of having inmates in ACDC (Atlanta Community Detention Center), then we turn ourselves into what the next future is, which is not with us being in the jailing business,” Dickens previously said.
But some still don't see this as a solution.
“It’s not going to solve the problem in the City of Atlanta. It’s not going to solve the problem in Fulton County, by just opening up 700 more beds," said Shaun Smith, a community activist with Black Push.