Atlanta councilman responds to funding flap over Fulton County Jail

A decision made three years ago not to expand the Fulton County Jail has proved to be costly, according to a senior Atlanta leader, Michael Bond.

The councilman praised Lee Morris, a former Fulton County commissioner, who, in June 2020, was the only one to support a project that would have expanded and segregated health facilities.

The legislation came before the county board amid protests following the George Floyd killing by a Minneapolis police officer, sparking demonstrations in Atlanta and around the world. The response included calls to defund the police, and activists spoke out at the county board meeting, urging lawmakers not to spend $21 million to expand housing for the jail.

"You are going to regret not making those extra beds available," said Morris at that time. Mr. Bond said, "He was correct."

The Atlanta councilman noted that had the new and presumably clean medical unit been built, cases like the inmate found dead in a dirty, bedbug-infested cell might not have happened.

At City Hall, the city council has taken a position on a controversial project that angered activists this year, namely the police training center under construction in DeKalb County.

Bond and most of the city legislators listened to activists for 16 hours but did not change their minds about the APD initiative. "You have to listen to all the citizens," Bond added, "but you have to do what you are required to do for all the citizens you represent."