What should you know about the Fulton County Jail, also known as the Rice Street Jail?

What should you know about the Fulton County jail, also known as the Rice Street Jail?

The Fulton County Jail, also known as Rice Street Jail, is the major jail for Fulton County, Georgia. Located in the city of Atlanta, it is the largest jail in Fulton County and holds inmates charged with misdemeanors and felonies. It known known for being overcrowded and will occasionally host a celebrity inmate.

Arrested in Fulton County, Georgia?

If you get arrested in Fulton County, there is a good chance you will be taken to the Fulton County Jail, commonly referred to as the Rice Street facility, or simply as Rice Street.

Located in the city of Atlanta, Rice Street has been in the media on countless occasions, sometimes housing a high-profile suspect, someone convicted of a crime, or sometimes it makes the news when something there goes horribly wrong.

Because Rice Street is so well-known in the criminal justice world, we wanted to write an article to give you some background on this famous institution.

  1. Background and Infamy:

The Fulton County Jail, located at 901 Rice Street, NW, in Atlanta, Georgia, has gained national notoriety due to its grim conditions and high mortality rate.

Lashawn Thompson’s recent tragic death brought global attention to the jail. He was found in a filthy cell on the medical wing, covered in lice and waste, with his head in a toilet. Thompson was the seventh person to die in Fulton County custody that year.

Figures released by the sheriff indicate that the jail averages more than one stabbing per day, and it suffers from overcrowding and disrepair.

Maintenance workers feel unsafe due to the environment and the ever-present fear of violence, so staffing problems have to be addressed.

  1. Overcrowding and Conditions:

The Fulton County Jail was built in 1989 to house 1,125 inmates but has consistently exceeded that capacity.

It is a difficult jail to oversee. Overcrowding seemingly worsened immediately after its construction, with the crack epidemic leading to a large increase in arrests, and the jail has struggled to manage its inmate population ever since.

Inmates face subpar living conditions, and the medical care section on Rice Street has witnessed multiple deaths.

Highlighting ongoing issues, Shamar McLeroy died in his dingy cell on the same floor as Thompson.

  1. Recent Developments:

Amid increased scrutiny, Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat accepted resignations from three employees, including the chief jailer, and called for a new medical services contractor.

The sheriff also invited the media to observe the deteriorating state of the 34-year-old facility.

Even with the calls from highly placed politicians, law enforcement big shots, and powerful local media groups, Rice Street jail still overflows at twice its capacity.

  1. Highly Regimented

For those who find themselves within its confines, life at the Rice Street Jail is a stark departure from the world outside. The routine of daily life is regimented, with strict schedules dictating everything from mealtimes to recreation periods.

  1. Inmates are Housed in Various Section

Inmates are housed in various sections of the facility based on factors such as security risk and gender. Each area is monitored by correctional officers tasked with maintaining order and ensuring the safety of both inmates and staff.

  1. Proposed Replacement:

A feasibility study presented to the Fulton County Commission suggested that constructing a new jail on the current Rice Street site could cost up to $2 billion.

Having been forced to at least look like it's taking some sort of action, the county is considering a tax-exempt public-private partnership to design, build, finance and maintain a new facility.

In summary, the Fulton County Jail faces significant challenges related to overcrowding, safety, and inadequate conditions. Its troubled history highlights the need for reform and potential replacement.

If you or a loved one are being held at Rice Street, or if you have been charged with a crime, a felony or misdemeanor, and need a criminal law attorney, call attorneys Bill Sherman and Valerie Sherman immediately.

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