Trump’s time in Fulton County Jail will be brief.
Donald Trump is expected to turn himself in to Georgia police in the coming days. Most other defendants don’t have the same luck with the local criminal justice system on their first encounter.
According to authorities, Mr Trump and his fellow 18 defendants are expected to be booked at Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail before being arraigned in court, though “circumstances may change”.
He must appear by 25 August to face charges of overturning the 2020 election.
As a result, officials will follow “normal practices” when dealing with Mr. Trump, according to the local sheriff, Pat Labat.
While awaiting trial, he will likely have a very different experience from those who sit in the county’s notoriously unsafe jail for weeks, months, or even years.
In the United States, criminal defendants who have been arrested, are awaiting trial without bail, or are serving a short sentence behind bars are held in jail. After being convicted of a crime, criminals are sentenced to prison for a longer period of time.
According to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report published in September 2022, hundreds of people were held at Fulton County Jail for more than 90 days because they had not been formally charged or couldn’t affordbail bond.
117 people waited in jail for more than a year without being indicted; 12 had been held for two years without being indicted.
Fallon McClure of the ACLU of Georgia said the facility has been overcrowded since it was built. For years, this has been a perpetual cycle.
‘Rapidly eroding’ conditions
Fulton County Jail, built in 1985 to hold about 1,300 inmates, now houses more than 3,000.
According to a report by the Southern Center for Human Rights, the jail provides “unhygienic living conditions” that have led to outbreaks of Covid-19, lice, and scabies. Inmates were found to be “significantly malnourished” and suffering from cachexia, also called wasting syndrome.
Some people have died waiting in these dilapidated conditions.
An unconscious 34-year-old man was found last week in a medical unit cell at the jail, where he had been held since 2019. According to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, the man was resuscitated, but later died at the hospital.
In July, Noni Battiste-Kosoko died in Fulton County Jail custody after being arrested on a less serious misdemeanor charge. She was found unresponsive in her cell at the Atlanta City Detention Center, which the county is leasing to relieve overcrowding at its main jail.
According to the BBC, Battiste-Kosoko’s family has still not been given a cause of death or post-mortem results.
Roderick Edmond stated that the jail has had a pattern of poor healthcare and inmates dying under mysterious circumstances.
According to the BBC, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is still awaiting the final autopsy report and is investigating the incident.
The death of Battiste-Kosoko came just before Fulton County this month agreed to pay $4m (£3.1m) to the family of a man who died from bed bug bites in the jail