Robb Pitts blames voters for Fulton Jail’s horrendous conditions
‘Georgia’s Gitmo’ is an exclusive, in-depth examination of the Fulton County Jail.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Fulton County Chairperson Robb Pitts is tired of allocating tax dollars to a criminal justice system without getting better results. He also doesn’t think a new jail is needed because overcrowding will remain until the court’s backlog is cleared. Pitts wants to renovate the current jail instead.
“A brand new jail is not going to solve the problem if you don’t have good management in that jail,” Pitts said. “The reason is for the jail being overcrowded, if we’re honest, is that those who are responsible processing those in jail, through the system, are not doing their job.”
Pitts, elected to the commission about 20 years ago, puts a lot of the blame on Fulton County Superior Court judges, who he believes are not pulling their weight to move cases along.
“Some work. Some do not,” Pitts said. “Some come to work at 10 in the morning, go to lunch at 12 p.m., play golf. We monitor this. The judges who are working come to my office and tell me which ones are working, which ones are not working.”
While Pitts won’t name the judges, he points to a monthly report published on the county’s website which identifies how many inmates in the jail are assigned to each judge. As of late August, at least nine of the judges were juggling more than 100 defendants each. Pitts has suggested taking out a weekly advertisement in a newspaper posting the chart for the public to see for themselves.
Fulton County Chief Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville disagrees with Pitts, and said he and his bench colleagues are working hard to move cases along, but are at the mercy of prosecutors and defense attorneys’ ability to get their cases ready.
“This particular issue of overcrowding in the jail is a collaborative effort,” said Glanville in an interview with Atlanta News First.
Pits also puts a lot of blame on the public for the jail’s crisis.
“The voters are at fault in all of this, from my perspective, for electing and reelecting the same people. You get the same results. It’s your fault,” he said. “We don’t run the jail. We don’t indict people. We don’t charge people. None of that. We’re trying to solve a problem by providing the resources which we have been very generous with.”
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