There were 26 murders in Georgia prisons in 2020. And, even though it’s only September, there have already been 21 in 2021. These murder statistics, combined with videos of weapons and gang activity on social media, paint a picture of the violence and abuse in Georgia prisons. Now, the Department of Justice is starting an investigation.
Kristen Clarke is an Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights with the DOJ. She said that the investigation is a matter of human dignity. “Ensuring the inherent human dignity and worth of everyone, including people who are incarcerated inside our nation’s jails and prisons is a top priority,” she said.
“Individuals sentenced to prison in Georgia Department of Corrections facilities deserve to be treated humanely,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Kurt R. Erskine. “Our office is committed to ensuring state prisoners are safe while serving their sentences. We look forward to working cooperatively with the Georgia Department of Corrections to ensure the safety of all individuals in its prisons.”
The DOJ’s investigation into Georgia prisons includes violence and sexual abuse.
The DOJ will also investigate some recent sexual-abuse allegations from Georgia prisoners. These include disturbing accounts of sexual abuse from the state’s LGBTQ prisoners. A complaint filed by Ashley Diamond is a good example. For instance, she alleges that the Georgia Department of Corrections regularly fails to protect her from sexual assault.
In her complaint, Diamond, a transgender woman, identifies 16 separate instances of sexual assault since she returned to prison on a parole violation in 2019. One example is especially gut-wrenching. Specifically, she claims that she has been “anally and orally raped, groped, grabbed, and masturbated and ejaculated on” inside of a Georgia prison.
The DOJ asks that anyone with information about violence or sexual abuse in Georgia prisons contact them. You can contact the Special Litigation Section of the DOJ by phone at (844) 401-3736 or by email at Community.GeorgiaDOC@usdoj.gov.