"CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff, head of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights, is requesting the U.S. Department of Justice investigate conditions at the Clayton County Jail.
According to a letter sent by Ossoff to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the senator has continued to receive “disturbing reports concerning continued abuses inside the jail” even after the conviction and removal of former Sheriff Victor Hill for charges of violating inmates’ civil rights.
The letter comes days after the U.S. Bureau of Prisons confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that Hill’s 18-month sentence had been reduced by roughly three months.
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Additionally, Clayton County Jail would be the second Georgia prison under investigation by DOJ if the department proceeds, following their opening of an investigation into the Fulton County Jail in July.
As a result of the reported continuing complaints received by Ossoff’s office, he has asked for federal intervention. In the letter to Garland, Ossoff cited some examples of recent issues at the jail.
“These reports paint a deeply disturbing portrait of systemic rights violations that cannot be overlooked. Rooted in our shared commitment to uphold the pillars of justice and civil rights, I ask the Department of Justice to honor its mandate under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) and investigate Clayton County Jail. One month after the former sheriff’s conviction, Terry Thurmond was booked into Clayton County Jail and died one day later. The 38-year-old man struggled with bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia—a fact the jail failed to document—and tried to jump from a second-story ledge before inmates and jailers pulled him back,” Ossoff wrote in the letter.