Overcrowded Fulton Co. Jail

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Inside the Fulton County Jail; "Things tend to pop off a lot quicker and more violently than when I first started."

Colonel Mark Adger is the Chief Jailer with the Fulton County Sheriffs Office.

"Jail has never been a fun place to be."

He gave The Bulldog rare access to the jail and its inmates. Some eager to show us how they pass the time.

"This is what happens when you live in a room 20 hours a day," said one inmate showing us his drawings.

"You have nothing to do but read, think, sleep, write."

And then there are those on what they call 'the boats'. Cot-like buckets on the floor assigned to the overflow crowd.

"I was on the second floor. No space for nobody. They moved us up here," another inmate told us.

You might not have much sympathy for the comfort of an accused law breaker.

"I've been in here 22 days now. Twenty-two days on a floor. Very, very rough," the inmate said.

But the Chief Jailer says its evidence of an over-taxed justice system the public needs to care about.

"This problem is not gonna go away."

When we visited, Adger told us about 150 to 200 inmates on average were sleeping on the floor. Not a single cell available. 

He points to a lack of judges and a slowdown in signature bonds, which he says used to get inmates out of jail faster. Especially those in there on minor charges. Something we heard from the inmates themselves when we walked the cell blocks.

"They're just holding me in jail ... for a misdemeanor charge," one inmate told us through his cell door.

He'd been in for 45 days, and when asked what it was like sleeping on the floor? 

"You better off in a room. The boats nasty," he said.

It took him almost a month to get a cell.

Coloner Adger also says determining who can be housed where has become more complicated, pointing to mental health issues as one reason.

"Its a situation we have to adjust to," says Adger.

Earlier this year, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners approved funding to outsource inmates to Gwinnett County, but Gwinnett has yet to approve the agreement.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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