Report: Mayor Bottoms calls for the sale of city jail

Atlanta City Detention Center.

With the number of inmates at the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC) declining and the costs to maintain the facility rising, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is reiterating her call to explore the sale of the city’s jail.

In a media statement, Bottoms said the sale of the jail would require “very deliberate collaboration with local, state and federal officials who may have an interest in taking over the detention center.”

The drop in the number of inmates has been dramatic: from 700 this time last year to only 150 now, according to WABE. The Atlanta City Council got an early draft of legislation to close the jail at its Aug. 20 meeting.

“Selling the ACDC will save taxpayers millions of dollars,” the mayor said, noting that she has directed city staff to identify new positions for the jail’s staff.

Bottoms said the jail property is ripe for redevelopment thanks to its proximity to Underground Atlanta, Georgia State University and The Gulch, the warren of below-level parking being eyed for redevelopment and, possibly, Amazon’s new headquarters.

“We are reimagining what this property could be,” Bottoms said. “With many big developments going on in the area, the jail itself has become prime real estate. That will certainly have to be weighed along with its potential use as a detention facility for some other jurisdiction.”

In addition to any funds generated from a possible sale, taxpayers would see an immediate savings of approximately $33 million a year in the cost to run the facility.

The call to sell the jail comes after a damning report from Project South and Georgia Detention Watch concerning “grave human rights violations” at the ACDC pertaining to the detention of immigrants. Bottoms recently signed an executive order refusing to house ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detainees in response to President Donald Trump’s controversial policy of separating families at the Mexican border.

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