With an almost 24 hour lock-down of prisoners in their cells, at least four dead prisoners this year, and a beaten and hospitalized deputy, conditions at the Cobb County Jail are worse than they have been in modern memory.
The great majority of jail prisoners are there because they can’t afford to post bond or have no bond set. They have not yet had their trials. They are considered innocent under the law. Additionally, many of them are in jail because they have untreated psychiatric conditions that led directly to criminal charges. Other than short term misdemeanor punishments for DUIs and the like, jail is generally not supposed to be punishment. That’s why the sign at the jail says “Adult Detention Center.”
The sheriff says in this article that the jail is adequately staffed. However, he also states there are 71 job openings out of 512 total deputy positions. In light of the lock down this statement is contradictory.
The only possible explanation for locking down prisoners for 23 hours and 45 minutes a day in their jail cells, without family visitation, phone calls, or daily access to soap, is the jail is out of control.
The problem is not just with the sheriff’s department. For many years, Cobb County paid public safety employees as well as or better than any Georgia law enforcement agency. Not anymore. The police as well as the sheriff have a terrible retention problem. Too often when the county hires and trains police officers they go to another metro agency offering better benefits.