Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is pressing Attorney General Merick Garland to complete the Department of Justice’s civil rights investigation into Georgia State Prisons.
In September of 2021, the Department of Justice announced it had opened a statewide civil investigation into conditions of confinement of incarcerated people held in Georgia’s state prisons.
In a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Department of Justice oversight hearing last week, Sen. Ossoff pressed Attorney General Merrick Garland to complete the Department of Justice’s investigation. Garland confirmed to Sen. Ossoff the investigation is still ongoing and would get a result.
“Those failures of management, in my view, in [the] Georgia state prison system, are appalling. They’re life threatening, and they have I believe, resulted in loss of life, and they undermine community safety. So, I want to ensure that the Department remains committed to seeing that investigation through and bringing results that can be made public and result in change,” Sen. Ossoff said in the hearing.
Sen. Ossoff has pushed to protect human rights and investigate prison conditions in Georgia since he was first elected to office.
Last year, following bombshell reporting, Sen. Ossoff launched an inquiry with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to investigate reports of violence and extortion at the second-largest women’s prison in Georgia, the Pulaski State Prison.
Last year, Sen. Ossoff also passed into law his bipartisan Prison Camera Reform Act to strengthen security in Federal prisons and their surrounding communities.
SEN. OSSOFF: “The Department announced in September of 2021, that it was conducting a civil investigation, a pattern of practice investigation into conditions of confinement in Georgia’s state prisons started about 18 months ago, and the abysmal conditions in Georgia’s state prisons, which as in the case of federal facilities, threaten public safety in the surrounding communities, and are a major public safety hazard.
“Those failures of management, in my view in Georgia state prison system are appalling. They’re life threatening, and they have I believe, resulted in loss of life, and they undermine community safety. So, I want to ensure that the Department remains committed to seeing that investigation through and bringing results that can be made public and result in change.”
AG GARLAND: “So, the Civil Rights Division is charged with this pattern of practice investigations. They’re very committed to ensuring that the conditions are changed that you’re talking about. These pattern of practice investigations normally do end in a public report to the state agency involved into the public at large.
“I don’t know the specifics of how the investigation is going. But I can assure you the Civil Rights Division is fully behind this investigation.”
SEN OSSOFF: “But the investigation is ongoing. It’s proceeding and it’s going to get a result? Yes?”
AG GARLAND: “Yes.”