Federal court hears lawsuit over Clayton County Jail's COVID-19 measures

Attorneys spent hours in federal court on Tuesday for a hearing about whether Clayton County's jail is doing enough to keep its inmates safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit was filed this summer by two civil rights groups on behalf of four Clayton County detainees. The lawsuit is against Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill and other jail administrators.

The suit claims the jail has done little to protect people inside from the coronavirus.

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The outside of the Clayton County Jail. (FOX 5)

In July, Sarah Geraghty, the managing attorney for the Southern Center for Human rights, spoke to FOX 5.

"This is a jail where you have cancer survivors and other people in fragile health crammed three to a two-person cell, wearing pieces of torn underpants over their faces," Geraghty said.

Attorneys called several witnesses to talk about the conditions at the Clayton County jail. Some of the witnesses included a correctional institution expert, inmates, and Clayton County Chief Deputy Roland Boehrer.

Both inmates who testified claim there is no social distancing and they have not seen jail cells sanitized.

One inmate claims he requested a COVID-19 test twice and never got one.

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Defense attorneys also presented a timeline of what the jail has done since the beginning of the pandemic. They said in court that the jail asked for guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also began implementing temperature checks and require staff and inmates to wear face masks.

Chief Deputy Boehrer testified for more than an hour in court and explained the jail's current safety measures. Boehrer said if there's a change in policy or procedure when it comes to COVID-19, it's generally communicated through email. The defense believes there should be a written procedure to keep inmates safe.

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