Georgia Prisons Under Investigation by Justice Department

In Summary

The Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division is investigating prisons in Georgia. 

The Justice Department has announced a statewide investigation into prisons in the state of Georgia.  

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According to CNN, the investigation announced Tuesday will focus on violence between those incarcerated, sexual abuse of members of the LGBTQ+ community and abuse of transgender detainees by prisoners and staff members.  

The leader of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, Kristen Clarke, said it would investigate those possible civil rights violations. Citing “significant justification” to open the investigation, Clarke said, “For example, in 2020, at least 26 people died in Georgia prisons by confirmed or suspected homicide. There have been a reported 18 homicides so far in 2021. Reports of countless other violence, assaults, including stabbings and beatings, also have emerged from Georgia prisons.”  

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The commissioner for the Georgia Department of Corrections released a statement, saying, “The GDC is committed to the safety of all of the offenders in its custody and denies that it has engaged in a pattern or practice of violating their civil rights or failing to protect them from harm due to violence.”  

The investigation is also set to examine the impacts of staff shortages of prisons along with inadequate policies and training of corrections officers. Additionally, Clarke noted that more than 2 million people are incarcerated across the country and people of color disproportionately represent them.  

“… in Georgia, the percentage of incarcerated people who are Black is nearly twice the percentage of Black residents in the state of Georgia overall,” Clarke said. “According to data from the Georgia Department of Corrections, the state’s prisoner population is 61% Black, so they make up about 32% of the population.”  

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If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.  

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