Chairman Ossoff urges Attorney General Merrick Garland to open DOJ investigation into Clayton County’s jail
Disturbing reports allege life-threatening conditions within the jail, including medical neglect allegedly contributing to inmates’ deaths
Last year, DOJ prosecuted the former Clayton County Sheriff for violating the constitutional rights of pretrial detainees in the County’s jail
Jonesboro, Ga. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is pressing for a civil rights investigation into alleged mistreatment and abuse of inmates in the Clayton County Jail.
Sen. Ossoff, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Human Rights Subcommittee, is urging Attorney General Merrick Garland to open a civil rights investigation into the Clayton County Jail, pointing to extensive local reporting alleging serious human rights violations and dangerous conditions inside the facility.
“There appears to be a pattern and practice of civil rights violations in this jail that result in preventable deaths and jeopardize public trust,” Sen. Ossoff wrote. “As one detainee told a reporter earlier this year: ‘We need somebody to come in here and see about this. The Department of Justice, somebody needs to come.’ I echo this detainee’s call and ask for your assistance.”
Local news reports detail harrowing stories of troubling conditions within Clayton County’s Jail, leading to the death of several inmates. Reporting from 11Alive Atlanta showed an inmate died one day after arriving at the jail, following an altercation with jailers and other inmates.
Other reporting from WSB-TV exposed disturbing conditions of incarceration leading up to an inmate’s death, including “inadequate and unhygienic living conditions while incarcerated, medical neglect while incarcerated, malnourishment while incarcerated, sequelae of physical abuse while incarcerated,” according to Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office Director Brian Byars.
Last year, the Department of Justice prosecuted and a jury convicted the former Sheriff of Clayton County, Georgia, for violating the constitutional rights of pretrial detainees in the county jail.
In April, Chairman Ossoff launched an inquiry to strengthen oversight of jails and prisons where brutal treatment and other human rights abuses have been reported.
Last Congress, Sen. Ossoff led substantial bipartisan oversight of the Department of Justice and led multiple bipartisan investigations into corruption, abuse, and misconduct in U.S. prisons and jails.
Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan investigations uncovered corruption, abuse, and misconduct at U.S. Penitentiary Atlanta; nearly 1,000 uncounted deaths in prisons and jails across the country; and widespread sexual abuse of women in Federal prisons nationwide.
Sen. Ossoff also passed into law bipartisan legislation to upgrade security in Federal prisons.
Click here to read Sen. Ossoff’s inquiry to AG Garland.