Activists Accuse DeKalb County Jail of Inhumane Conditions


20190701_195338(APN) DECATUR — So far this year, there have been at least five protests, with at least eight activists arrested, to bring attention to what inmates say are inhumane conditions at the DeKalb County Jail on Memorial Drive. 


Fulton County Jail has been in the news lately, including for issues of overflowing population.  But DeKalb County has been an ongoing concern for years, activists say.


Atlanta Progressive News obtained a copy of a letter written by one inmate at DeKalb County Jail that the inmate wrote to activists, in response to a postcard they sent:


“I’m writing to tell you the conditions in here are unlivable.  When you inform the guards of the mold on the food, they act like it don’t even exist!  It took me two days without food just to eat it,” the letter states.


“The air smells of mildew, the toilet are left backed up. (sic)  They don’t run the AC (air conditioner) and every cell like a sauna,” the letter states.


“The grievances don’t mean nothing they can get away with murder,” the letter states.


“Please keep helping us, we dying in here!”


“There are all sorts of human rights abuses, ranging from moldy food to physical abuse of inmates, lots of toilets that don’t work and sewage leaks, also not enough food for the inmates. People (some inmates) have been in jail since 2017 without even an indictment.  All of this is unacceptable,” Meg Dudukovich, one of the protesters, told Atlanta Progressive News at a recent protest.   


Other protesters said that inmates are not allowed to use the phone, while others are put in solitary confinement for no reason; and that the air conditioner does not work.  


A former inmate who wished to remain autonomous told APN he was incarcerated in DeKalb Jail about four years ago.  The conditions at the jail were bad at that time as well, he said.


“There were worms in the beans, the air conditioner did not work, young men were put in with violent felons, grievances were ignored, and if you got sick you filled out a form and it could take weeks or months to see a doctor,” the former inmate said.   


“People are poor, to begin with, so they are going in with illnesses and they don’t get any treatment and they die in there,” Dianne Mathiowetz, Organizer with International Action Center/Atlanta, told APN.


“I think prisons and jails are a form of concentration camps for poor and working people.  There’s no justice for people in the courts,” Mathiowetz said.  


(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2019)

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