Donald Trump to be booked in jail where this horrifying case took place

Learn more about the horrifying conditions of this notoriously unsafe facility, including the tragic death of one inmate in September 2022.

Donald Trump to be booked in jail where this horrifying case took place
© CBS Photo Archive / GETTY IMAGES
Donald Trump to be booked in jail where this horrifying case took place

Authorities announced on 16 August that Donald Trump is ‘expected’ to be booked at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta. Being 'booked' is a process that involves individuals having their personal information entered into a jail's system.

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The former President Donald Trump and his fellow 18 defendants will be booked at this infamous jail after surrendering to authorities, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Natalie Ammons announced in a statement released on Tuesday 15 August.

Trump’s fourth indictment

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who has been investigating Trump and his associates for two years, stated on Monday 14 August that she intends to try all 19 defendants together. Authorities are expected to treat them ‘normally’; this would include taking both their mugshots and fingerprints. Trump, in his three previous indictments, has been spared the embarrassment of this protocol.

The accused, who were reportedly involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, have two weeks to turn themselves in. As Ammons has publicly reminded them, ‘the jail is open 24/7’.

What we know about Fulton County Jail

According to the BBC, the jail was built in 1985 with a capacity of around 1,300 inmates. In recent years, it has housed more than 3,000. A report by the Southern Center for Human Rights found that the jail provides ‘unhygienic living conditions’ that have led to outbreaks of Covid-19, as well as lice and scabies. It also found that inmates were suffering from malnutrition.

While Trump is only expected to spend a few hours in the facility, continued exposure to these horrific conditions has proved deadly for some less fortunate people, including Lashawn Thompson.

What happened to Lashawn Thompson?

In September 2022, Lashawn Thompson was the 15th Fulton County inmate to die. His passing was so horrible that it grabbed the media’s attention and people started to learn about the terrible conditions faced by prisoners at the facility.

The deputy who discovered the scene had to run out of the room to retch: Thompson was found in the psychiatric wing, covered in his own faeces, with his head in the toilet; there were lice crawling all over his body. An independent autopsy found that his death was the result of ‘severe neglect’ from jail staff. Since Thompson’s passing, the Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the conditions at the jail.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland stated in a press release that the decision to investigate was ‘based on serious allegations of unsafe, unsanitary living conditions at the jail, excessive force and violence within the jail, discrimination against incarcerated individuals with mental health issues, and failure to provide adequate medical care to incarcerated individuals.’

Read more: Donald Trump: Legal experts claim he could be disqualified from running for President

Who is at fault?

Thompson’s death was particularly tragic, but it was far from an exceptional case in Fulton County Jail’s track record. The jail is chronically overcrowded and struggles with staffing issues. Figures released by Sheriff Pat Labat in 2022 showed that Fulton County Jail averages more than one stabbing a day. Atlanta Magazine reported that one prisoner dug a hole - Shawshank Redemption style - not to escape, but to get to another inmate and stab him. As Atlanta Magazine's report goes on to explain:

In March, former deputy Kawana Jenkins was captured on cellphone video engaging in sexual contact with an inmate. In April, the attorney general’s office indicted deputy Courtney Lofton on sex trafficking charges.

Indeed, several other members of staff have been accused of violence and of smuggling contraband, including drugs, into the jail. Robb Pitts, chairman of the Fulton County commission, believes the pace of arrests and adjudication need to pick up to avoid backlogged cases that, in turn, cause overcrowding in the facility as prisoners await their fate. Labat believes the solution is to build a new jail:

Anyone who cares about inmate and staff safety and providing services that offer meaningful opportunities for rehabilitation should urge those in power to move forward with common sense solutions to replace the Rice Street jail.

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Sources used:

BBC: Trump's time in Fulton County Jail will be brief. Others die waiting

New York Post: Trump, co-defendants will be booked at Fulton County jail on 2020 election charges: sheriff’s office

Atlanta Magazine: The real behind the wall: A look inside the infamous, deadly Fulton County Jail

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