DOJ opens civil rights probe of Georgia prisons, will eye violence against inmates, LGBTQ prisoners

1 week ago
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In this Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 record photo, an unidentified captive connected decease enactment stands successful his compartment astatine the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison, successful Jackson, Ga.

David Goldman | AP

The U.S. Department of Justice connected Tuesday said it is opening a statewide civilian rights probe of prisons successful Georgia, with a absorption connected harm against inmates by different prisoners, and the targeting of LGBTQ inmates for intersexual unit by prisoners and staff.

The probe comes arsenic prisons successful Georgia saw astatine slightest 26 radical successful prisons determination dying from confirmed oregon suspected homicides successful 2020, 18 specified cases this year, and "reports of countless different assaults," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, the caput of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division.

She besides cited a large riot successful 1 situation past year, and disturbances elsewhere successful Georgia's correctional system.

Clarke said the probe was motivated by complaints by inmates, household members, and different "stakeholders" specified arsenic advocacy groups, arsenic good arsenic by "an extended reappraisal of publically disposable information," including leaked photos showing pack enactment successful prisons there.

"We did find capable justification to unfastened this investigation," said Clarke, who spoke astatine a Zoom property league with the acting U.S. attorneys who caput prosecutors' offices successful each 3 of Georgia's national districts.

Clarke said the probe volition analyse whether Georgia prisons are violating the 8th Amendment rights of their inmates. That law amendment bars authorities authorities from imposing "cruel and antithetic punishments" connected prisoners.

"This is simply a apical precedence for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department: ensuring lawful and humane conditions successful our nation's jails," she said.

Clarke said that utmost staffing shortages and precocious turnover among correctional officers "are persistent problems successful Georgia."

She noted that "without capable supervision" by situation staff, inmates are astatine accrued hazard of harming oregon sidesplitting themselves.

But, Clarke added, "We've drawn nary conclusions yet. This probe volition let america to spell successful and analyse the facts."

Clarke said that if the squad of investigators determines violations by Georgia's situation system, "we volition enactment with the authorities to enactment connected mutually acceptable solutions."

She said the DOJ has "been looking astatine Georgia prisons for years."

"We opened an probe successful 2016. And portion I can't remark connected the presumption of an unfastened investigation, we're continuing the enactment that we initiated," Clarke said.

That anterior probe was eyeing the attraction of cheery and transgender inmates successful Georgia's correction institutions.

That probe was the archetypal DOJ probe to absorption connected LGBT inmates.