The Georgia Prison System is massively understaffed. This issue is causing many problems for the system that is already under federal investigation, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.
Dead Inmate in Ware County
A prime example of understaffing at Georgia prisons came in the form of a cell phone video shot inside Ware State Prison in Waycross. The video is from July 3, 2022. An anonymous inmate videos the condition of the prison, including a dead prisoner who is slumped over a cell block railing.
Some of the prisoners complained the dead inmate had been there for hours, due to no officer on duty in that section of the prison. The narrator of the video says there had been no one for over 3 hours. He says, “We have an inmate here that is dead… hanging right here for the last two hours at least. Two and a half hours. Dead.”
In the video, the prisoner also shows the absence of officers at the control center of the cell block. One prisoner said someone had only shown up for morning count, with no way to alert anyone before that.
The dead inmate is 54-year-old John Ekers. He was convicted of murder in Cobb County back in 1991, with a sentence of life with the possibility of parole. At this time, no foul play is suspected in his death.
Christina Remlin, head of litigation for the Southern Center for Human Rights, says many facilities throughout the state are running with staffing vacancy rates close to 70 percent. Often putting one officer in situations where more are needed.
This seems like a risk both for the officers and the inmates alike.
But it’s not that there haven’t been hiring efforts. Recruiters have been out across the state, and entry pay was raised to $18.28 an hour. Unfortunately, many job seekers can find positions for similar wages, that doesn’t come with the risks.
Issues in the CSRA
Just recently, even the CSRA had two inmate deaths within a week. One of those was in Edgefield County on Thursday, and the other was at the Columbia County Jail on Tuesday. Autopsies are scheduled for both of these incidents, according to WRDW. It will be interesting to know if this is also due to the Georgia prison system being understaffed.