Imagine a jail that hasn’t had working cell door locks for about a decade. Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? Unimaginable perhaps? Could never happen, you say? Well my friends, since you’ve clearly forgotten which website you’re reading, I invite you to think again.
The Fulton County jail will get door locks that work next year, preventing inmates from leaving their cells at will to assault guards and other inmates.
After years of putting off the problem and months of stalling by elected officials, the Fulton County Commission decided Wednesday to go $5 million in debt to replace more than 1,300 substandard locks. The vote puts the county on track to end federal oversight of the Rice Street jail, which has been ongoing for six years and is costing taxpayers more than $140 million.
It could take at least another year for supervision to end, and tens of millions of more dollars might still have to be spent adding bed space to the jail. But the vote moves the county past a political hurdle that held up progress for most of this year.
Why all the stalling? Well, the simple answer is that enough people didn’t think it was worth bothering to fix it because no matter what they did, the judge who slapped the supervision order on the place wouldn’t lift it anyway. Yes, for serious. And in any case, none of this would even be a problem if those damn deputies would just supervise the inmates better.
Government at work, everyone.