U.S. Department of Justice investigating conditions in Georgia prisons

The U.S. Justice Department announced Tuesday it has opened a statewide civil investigation into Georgia prisons.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Justice Department announced Tuesday it has opened a statewide civil investigation into Georgia prisons.

According to a press release, the investigation will look at whether Georgia provides prisoners protection from physical harm at the hands of other prisoners. It also says  it will continue its investigation into whether Georgia provides LGBT and intersex prisoners protections from sexual abuse by other prisoners and by staff.

Acting U.S. Attorney David H. Estes for the Southern District of Georgia released this statement in the press release:

“This investigation is an example of our office’s commitment to stamping out violence in our district, no matter where it is found, no matter who the victim is.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary for the Middle District of Georgia released this statement in the press release:

“Prison conditions that enable inmates to engage in dangerous and even deadly activity are an injustice, jeopardizing the lives of detainees, staff members and other corrections personnel.”

The release says the department has not reached any conclusions regarding the allegations in this matter and that it is conducting the investigation under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.

15 of the state’s 35 prisons that are part of the investigation are in the jurisdiction of the U.S. Attorney based in Macon.

The Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman, Lori Benoit, said in a statement:

“The GDC is committed to the safety of all of the offenders in its custody and denies that it has engaged in a pattern or practice of violating their civil rights or failing to protect them from harm due to violence.”

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