By Christopher Zoukis Women in the Georgia prison system are getting a unique learning opportunity, thanks to a partnership between Code/Out and Arke. Code/Out is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing recidivism and poverty among incarcerated women in the Georgia penal system. Code/Out addresses this by teaching female inmates how to code, and how technology…Read More
The Georgia Supreme Court answered an unusual, yet significant, question on December 11, 2017. Can a conviction that requires proof that a rental car was stolen outside of the state coexist with a conviction that requires proof that the same car was stolen in the state? Both a trial court and an appellate court said…Read More
The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously ruled on October 2, 2017 that a convicted murderer was entitled to a new trial because the original trial transcript was destroyed in a fire, and the State’s efforts to recreate it were wholly insufficient. Craig Johnson was found guilty of malice murder and other crimes relating to the stabbing…Read More
The Georgia Supreme Court ruled on October 2, 2017 that a raised middle finger, without more, amounts to constitutionally protected speech that cannot be grounds for a finding of criminal disorderly conduct. David Freeman attended a church service at the Flowery Branch campus of the 12 Stones Church on August 3, 2014. During the service,…Read More
By Christopher Zoukis The Georgia Supreme Court sent a message to prosecutors in an October 2, 2017 opinion: A police officer’s testimony as to a defendant’s performance on a horizontal gaze nystagmus (“HGN”) test cannot, by itself, establish a numeric blood alcohol content level. The HGN test is one of several field sobriety tests used…Read More
The state of Georgia has earmarked education for prisoners as a top budget priority on two fronts – by enrolling more inmates in GED certificate programs and also by creating new job skills training to help prisoners find work once they are released. In a January 19 appearance before the Joint Appropriations Committee of the…Read More
By Christopher Zoukis This past week, a UK transgender woman incarcerated in a men’s prison in Bath, took her life. The warning signs from Vicky Thompson were far from subtle: she had repeatedly told family, friends, and prison officials that she would kill herself were she to find herself in a men’s prison. Yet…Read More
By David Reutter
A series of investigative news reports by Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Joy Lukachick, published from February to December 2013, revealed numerous problems in Georgia’s prison system – particularly at Hays State Prison (HSP), located around 40 miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee – and resulted in lawsuits, security improvements and the replacement of HSP’s warden.
While violence has increased in Georgia prisons over the last several years, it was not until four HSP prisoners were murdered within a two-month period that the media began to take notice. Prison officials blamed gangs and contraband cell phones for the spike in violence, but guards faulted their bosses, saying they were more focused on their careers than security.
Since 2010, at least 26 Georgia state prisoners have been slain by other prisoners; four HSP prisoners were killed from December 19, 2012 to February 5, 2013 alone.
Non-fatal assaults on staff and prisoners have been increasing, too. The Georgia State Prison has the highest number of incidents, with 251 prisoner-on-staff assaults in 2012 – an average of 21 per month. Guards have reciprocated the violence, reporting 265 uses of force on prisoners over the same time period. The Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison (GDCP) – the state’s highest security facility – reported 86 prisoner-on-staff assaults in 2012, the second-highest in the state.
There were signs of trouble in Georgia’s prison system before the spate of murders at HSP. At Telfair State Prison, two prisoners were killed between August and October 2012, while six prisoners were murdered over two years of escalating violence at Smith State Prison. Further, two guards were stabbed by HSP prisoner Brian Dukes in February 2012, and guard Larry Stell, 46, was murdered in a dormitory area at Telfair on October 11, 2012.Read More
On Friday, February 7, 2014, approximately 800 prisoners at the Geguti prison in the ex-Soviet state of Georgia staged a hunger strike over their conditions of confinement, in particular physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the prison guards and poor medical care. Since then, the severity of the prison protests has only increased,…Read More