$75 million allocated to fight historic judicial backlog in Fulton County due to COVID-19

Fulton County jail (FOX 5)

Fulton County is injecting $75 million into the county’s justice system to help fight the historic backlog created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioners said a good portion of that money to help expedite the more than 200,000 cases in the Southeast’s largest and busiest justice system will come from the American Rescue & Recovery Act Funding. 

"The Board of Commissioners has prioritized the operations of our justice system during COVID-19, and we immediately sought to use the American Rescue and Recovery Act funds to resolve this issue," says Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts. "I am pleased that hiring is already underway and look forward to seeing this important work move forward."

"We have planned for this effort since the fall of 2020, at a time when all of our justice agencies began to fully understand the magnitude of the effect COVID-19 was having on our justice system," said Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Christopher S. Brasher. "We are proud of the collaboration with county leadership that has provided the needed resources to successfully address this issue."

Appearing before the board earlier this month, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Sheriff Pat Labat individual expressed the need for more staffing and money to end the backlog.

"With funding in place, we are squarely focused on the execution of our plan for seamless delivery of services." Says Alton Adams, Deputy COO for Public Safety and Justice. "Like most programs of this scale, good planning, disciplined program management, and collaboration across all stakeholders will be key to achieving our goals."

The money will go towards opening about 20 additional courtrooms, extending court hours, adding satellite courtroom locations, enhancing case management and triage, implementing real-time case dispositions, and hiring about 300 new staff members.

Hiring is underway for positions in the District Attorney’s Office, Solicitor General, Public Defender, and all areas within the court system.

"In addition to the $75 million in funding, other key services including Finance, Information Technology, Facilities, Human Resources, Strategy, and Planning, among others, will support this effort to ensure success," County Manager Dick Anderson pointed out that other administrative services across Fulton County will also support the case backlog resolution.

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