July 26, 2021 13:29

Georgia Legislators Push for Investigation of Every Jail Death

Lawmaker David Wilkerson said he and his colleagues intend to craft legislation requiring the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to examine every jail death across the state, reports Reuters. Monday’s hearing was called following a Reuters series, Dying Inside, that disclosed death tolls at the nation’s largest jails. The series cited several Georgia case studies and documented 272 inmate deaths among the state’s 13 largest jails from 2008 to 2019. Suicides and medical conditions, often treatable, caused most of the deaths. Wilkerson, a Cobb County Democrat, also wants a state body to monitor jails’ intake procedures for inmates suffering mental health and drug withdrawal issues. The ultimate goal, he said, is “making sure that nobody goes to jail, not convicted of a crime, and just sits there and dies.” Georgia ranks among 17 state governments with no mechanism for oversight of local jails, according to research by Reuters and Michele Deitch, a corrections specialist at the University of Texas.

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