ATLANTA - The Atlanta mayor said there are too many empty cells to justify keeping the Atlanta City Jail open at an annual operating cost of $32 million.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said initiatives that have reduced confinement have led her to weigh selling the property. There are in excess of 1,300 beds and she believes there will be takers for her idea, governments who need additional housing for their inmates.
The mayor cites an earlier city decision to enact no cash bonds for many offenders typically housed at the Peachtree location, as well as her decision not to house any new federal inmates, as just two of the reasons that have significantly reduced the city jail population.
Bottoms did not identify what entities might make an offer. She does not think it is cost effective for taxpayers to keep it open.
Taryn Bowman, a leader of a Coalition of Northside Community groups said she can eagerly get behind the mayor's idea as long as potential savings are kept in the public safety budget, specifically to support police officers.
The sell-jail conversation is very early. The mayor would need city council backing if she is able to broker a deal.