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Stabbings, foreign substances: These are just some of the ongoing issues at the Fulton County Jail

11Alive obtained several incident reports that provide more insight into the persisting issues at the jail.

ATLANTA — The Fulton County Jail continues to struggle with crime, as shown by incident reports obtained by 11Alive, from over the weekend.

One report shows jail officials found an inmate drenched in blood Sunday. According to the report, the inmate said a fight broke out and someone stabbed him with a metal shank.

Earlier that weekend, reports show several armed inmates stabbed another one. Another incident report stated a jailer requested medical attention after being exposed to a foreign substance. Former Fulton County deputy Charles Rambo, a 30-year veteran at the sheriff's office and former jailer, said incidents like these affect morale among inmates and staff.

"We've got to get some real order on those floors because that's what's going to be an indication to the community on how well a jail is run," Rambo said. "While I do have sympathy for the current sheriff, a leadership presence is going to have to get back in there outside of just funding."

After news surfaced that inmate Lashawn Thompson died at the jail after he was eaten alive by bedbugs and other insects, Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat asked the head jailer and two top assistants to resign. Labat blames overcrowding and budget constraints for poor jail conditions.

“I’m trying to find a way to clear that jail out," Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Lewis said during a public safety committee meeting Monday. "'How can we, as a city, help you clear out these cases?' Nonviolent offenders need to be at home.”

Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriff's Association, said while sheriffs are not accountable to the organization, they have unique responsibilities when it comes to maintaining jails in the state with limited resources and different configurations. 

“Sheriffs are the keeper of the jail in our state, and they’re responsible for the care, custody and safety of the inmates, and of course the staff," Norris said. “The problems existing in the Fulton County Jails have been emerging for years, not just two years, 10 years, but even longer. When you’ve got an emerging jail population or expanding one, it’s just really hard to keep up.”

Fallon McClure with the ACLU of Georgia said more affordable bonds, moving inmates' cases more quickly and diverting certain offenders from the jail altogether can help solve the problem.

"Everyone there is presumed innocent because they have yet to be convicted of a crime," McClure said. "So the idea of just being accused of a crime, you have less rights than other folks is extremely problematic. It's not a single actor that can solve the problem, because there's not a single actor that created these problems."

In a statement, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office said it's investigating the incidents that happened over the weekend, as well as the death of Lashawn Thompson. The sheriff's office said its priority remains the safety, well-being and security of every inmate. 

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