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Fulton County to lease beds at Atlanta detention center

The county and the city have come to an agreement, leaders said.

ATLANTA — The City of Atlanta may have figured out what to do with its detention center -- and community members are not happy.

City leaders and Fulton County announced a leasing agreement allowing the county to utilize the Atlanta City Detention Center to detain inmates.

The county will be able to utilize 700 beds at the ACDC and pay $50 per detainee a day to alleviate overcrowding in the Fulton County Jail. Atlanta City Council leaders said it costs about $85 to house an inmate daily. This leasing agreement would be for four years.

James "Major" Woodall, a public policy associate at Southern Center for Human Rights, said though this agreement is between two government entities, taxpayers will be the ones paying for it.

"Taxpayers are going to flop the bill for this," he said. "It does not solve the problem of overcrowding and it will simply lead to further mass incarceration."

Woodall echoes many local activists who said the agreement doesn't benefit the city. He points to Atlanta city leaders previously promising to get out of the "jailing business."

In 2019, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms formed a task force to come up with recommendations to reimagine what the city's detention center could be. Councilman Michael Julian Bond said since then, the council never agreed on a resolution on what to do with the center.

Activists argue that this agreement shouldn't be the solution even without a clear-cut resolution.

"These are human beings, but they are still human beings and we have an obligation to help human beings," Woodall said. "Make it more equitable, safe, and clean even if you don't want to see more people put in the Fulton County Jail. To me, it's a sin to (just) do nothing about it."

This leasing agreement, known as a resolution, will go before the public safety committee next Monday. Woodall said the city needs to reach back out to the community to let them weigh in on what should be done with the center before pushing this resolution through.

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