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Legislation to close down and repurpose the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC) passed city council earlier this week.
“No longer will Atlanta be in the jail business,” Mayor Bottoms said in a statement. “Today, we have taken another critical step forward in the march for criminal justice reform by beginning the work to repurpose our jail to serve the people of Atlanta as a Center for Equity. The process will be an inclusive one to ensure stakeholders and those most impacted by the criminal justice have a seat at the table.”
Bottoms has called for the closing of the ACDC since last year, citing declining numbers of inmates and the increased costs of operating the center, according to administration materials. A task force will be established to determine the future of the facility.
Two appointments to this task force were made Monday, council materials indicate. City Council President Felicia Moore selected Council member Matt Westmoreland. Council member Dustin Hillis, chair of the Public Safety/Legal Administration Committee, selected Council member Antonio Brown. Other appointments will be made by the City’s Chief Operating Officer, the City Attorney, the Chief Resiliency Officer and the Chief of the Atlanta Police department, among others.
The mission of the task force, according to council materials, is to determine a more equitable use for the facility that would benefit the community. Fox-5 Atlanta reports that when Bottoms announced her plans to close the jail last year, corrections officials told city leaders it would increase criminal activity and lead to an influx of individuals suffering from mental illnesses on the street.