For Immediate Release: April 20, 2023
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Color Of Change Demands #Justice4LaShawn and
Accountability for Life-Threatening Conditions at Fulton County Jail
NATIONWIDE – In response to LaShawn Thompson’s untimely death due to inhumane conditions at Fulton County Jail and ahead of today’s press conference and rally held by his family’s attorneys, Ben Crump and Michael Harper, Sakira Cook, Vice President of Campaigns, Policy & Government Affairs at Color Of Change, issued the following statement:
“Like LaShawn Thompson, countless individuals are currently enduring completely inhumane conditions at the severely overcrowded Fulton County Jail — often waiting for months at a time for frequently minor offenses and small amounts of cash bail. This must end. Despite years of scrutiny, the neglect and inhumane conditions within the jail have persisted, with little to no meaningful changes in prosecutorial practices or conditions. Politicians have responded to these problems by throwing more money at the issue and approving more jail space. Just last year, the Atlanta City Council decided to repurpose a diversion center and turn it into a jail, yet the local sheriff has hardly used this new facility despite begging for it. Now the Fulton County Board of Commissioners is considering a new $2bn jail – an astronomical waste of money. The solution is not more jails and more incarceration; it is smarter, more sensible justice policies that will reduce the jail population.
The current dark reality of mass incarceration is not accidental, but rather the consequence of intentional policies crafted by a dominant white culture that perpetuates and profits from the suppression of Black individuals through the jailing system. Rebuilding and expanding Fulton County Jail won’t resolve the overcrowding crisis. Fulton County has the ability to immediately address the issue of overcrowding by implementing several measures, such as releasing individuals who cannot afford bail, providing alternative support for individuals with mental health needs, and resolving cases of individuals who are awaiting trial but have not been convicted of a crime. In 2019, Atlanta made a pledge to transform the city jail into a resource center for the community, yet instead, they are betraying that commitment and attempting to expand the jail. We must safeguard the humanity of incarcerated individuals and also address the lack of investments in our communities from elected officials. Elected officials must take responsibility for the overcrowding crisis, collaborate with the communities they serve, and redirect resources towards community-based solutions to advance pretrial justice reforms and true community safety.”
About Color Of Change:
Color Of Change is the nation's largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and governments to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.