Close the Atlanta City Detention Center and Deliver Long-term Public Safety

Atlanta detention center sq


In September 2020, the City of Atlanta engaged the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) to chart a path to close the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC). Vera met with key justice system stakeholders, service providers, and community advocates; analyzed data; and brought to bear evidence and examples from across the country to develop a strategy to reduce the number of people in jail to zero in as few as three months and to minimize reliance on arrests and detention in the future. In this report, Vera recommends five policy changes to arrest and booking processes, pretrial release, and diversion that the City can adopt to reduce incarceration and costs without harming public safety. Vera presented these policy changes in December 2020 and adopting them immediately will allow ACDC to close safely and quickly—freeing up resources for programs and services that can deliver long-term public safety for the city’s residents.

Key Takeaway

Closing the Atlanta City Detention Center must remain an urgent priority for the City of Atlanta, particularly as it works to ensure the health and well-being of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The jail detains fewer than 25 people on any given day, perpetuates racial disparities, and is extremely expensive to operate.

Key Facts