ATLANTA—Since the death of Noni Battiste-Kosoko in Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail, there have been three more deaths reported in about a month.
Aug. 17 – Fulton County inmate Alexander Hawkins, age 66, was found unresponsive in a medical unity cell. Medical personnel were unsuccessful at attempts to revive Mr. Hawkins.
Aug. 11 – Fulton County inmate Christopher Smith, age 34, was found by a detention officer unresponsive in a medical unit cell, Aug. 10. Medical personnel resuscitated Mr. Smith and he was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where he died the next morning.
July 31 – Fulton County inmate Montay Stinson, age 40, was found unresponsive in his cell. Jail and medical personnel responded in attempts to revive Mr. Stinson but were unsuccessful.
July 11- Fulton County inmate Noni Battiste-Kosoko, age 19, was found unresponsive in her cell during dinner rounds. Medical personnel responded along with Atlanta Fire Rescue, and Ms. Battite-Kosoko was pronounced deceased.
Seven inmate deaths have been reported in the Atlanta Jail this year.
The Fulton County Jail in Atlanta gained national spotlight for recent atrocities and has been described in many published articles as “notorious.” Last September, LaShawn Thompson was found dead in his cell covered with bed bugs and other insects.
His family alleges Mr. Thompson, was “eaten alive.” Other published reports said jail staff noticed his deteriorating but did nothing to help him The City of Atlanta recently offered a financial settlement with the family accepting a $4 million settlement.
“The health, well-being and security of inmates in our care is our top priority,” began a statement this past April from the FCSO. “It’s no secret that the dilapidated and rapidly eroding conditions of the current facility make it incredibly difficult to meet the goal of providing clean, well-maintained and healthy environment for all inmates and staff.
That is precisely why Sheriff (Patrick “Pat”) Labat continues to call building a new Fulton County Jail and Criminal Justice Complex which will provide an elite level of care, mental health services, security and cleanliness,” the statement disclosed.
Built in 1985 to house around 1,300 inmates, Fulton County Jail has held more than 3,000 people in recent years. The jail provides “unhygienic living conditions” that have led to outbreaks of Covid-19, lice and scabies, according to published reports. Recent tours of the jail revealed inmates malnourished, living in filth and structurally unsafe conditions. In 2022, 15 inmates died inside Fulton County Jail.
A 2022 report from the American Civil Liberties Union said that Fulton County Jail housed more than 500 persons who remained unindicted for over 90 days. More than 200 were in custody charged with misdemeanors, while 293 simply could not pay bail. More than 60 Fulton County Jail inmates died between the years 2009-2022, the highest total for any jail in Georgia during that time, according to published reports.
—Eric Ture Muhammad, Contributing Writer