Fulton Jail Population Hovering Near Federal Cap

Credit Lisa George / WABE News

It’s two steps forward, one step back, for the Fulton County Jail.

While it’s installing a new lock system to help comply with a federal judge’s mandate, the jail is once again experiencing overcrowding.

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Fulton County’s chief jailer, Mark Adger, confirms that the inmate population at the Rice Street facility on Friday, September 13, was 2,435, just shy of a cap of 2,500 included in a court order issued by Federal Judge Marvin Shoob. But on Thursday, Adger told reporters it was around 2,600.

And there are nearly 300 Fulton County prisoners housed elsewhere, most of them at the Union City jail. Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts says that is a problem, too. “I expect that any day we’re going to get an invoice from Union City which we have not identified how we’re going to find that money to pay Union City,” said Pitts.

The invoice for August is already in the mail, according to Union City’s City Manager Sonja Filingame. “We’ve gone into the agreement as a partnership, and the agreement is signed by both parties,” Filingame told WABE. “So we should be getting paid for the services that are due.”

The agreement calls for Fulton County to pay Union City $111,750 a month. The contract runs through the end of this year. And the county is already paying more than $4 million for the new lock system. Installing the new system is also part of the county’s attempt to improve conditions at the jail as cited in the 2006 federal order.

Despite the fluctuating inmate population, Commission Chair John Eaves told WABE this is “just a hiccup” and that the jail situation is moving in a positive direction.