Sheriff Message

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Sheriff Message

A message from Sheriff Theodore jackson

Thank you for your continued support of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. Perhaps, that has never been more critical than now as the world is coping with the highly contagious novel coronavirus COVID-19. This agency is managing cases at the Fulton County Jail and preparing for the possibility of a second wave of infections during flu season later this year.

The work of all employees as we adapt and move forward during the pandemic is commendable.  Also stepping up to the challenge are the health care professionals with the Jail’s  medical provider NaphCare who are finding innovative ways to isolate patients, treat symptoms, manage testing, and make the Fulton County Jail a model for other institutions across the United States and globally. The transparent and scientific approach to identify cases and order quarantines for persons who may have been exposed to the virus has helped contain it reasonably and limit the number of persons who test positive while ensuring the best care for coronavirus patients. 

We have received tremendous support from the community and we are grateful. Acts of kindnesses have helped make sure that staff and inmates have personal protection equipment, P.P.E.’s. Staff members were overwhelmed by support from our Citizen Academy graduates, community leaders, business owners, and others who were generous enough to prepare meals as a show of support staff on the front lines.

$2.125 Million to Enhance Smart Reentry Program

In 2019, the Sheriff’s Office became the recipient of two prestigious grants totaling $2,125,000. 

Thanks to our grant writer Dr. Vinyl Baker and the Smart Reentry team, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office earned $1,125,000 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (SAMHSA) to provide mental health care to former inmates which can be critical to their success post-incarceration and reduce the chances of them falling into a pattern of reoffending. This was the first time the agency applied for the prestigious SAMHSA grant which is a significant achievement. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is the first jail-based entity to receive this award which shows the commitment to tear down the impediments that lead to recidivism.

 

Another $1,000,000 is a second grant award from the United States Department of Justice, (D.O.J.) to extend and enhance the Smart Reentry Program.  In 2016, the D.O.J. bestowed a $1Million grant upon this agency to establish the Smart Reentry Program. Awarding additional grant funds to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office in 2019 is a strong vote of confidence. The Smart Reentry team’s hard work has achieved an incredible 95% success rate.  The Smart Reentry Program has helped 147 inmates and only 7 individuals have returned to jail.

 

The research is paying off and the formula is working. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Smart Reentry Program is a nationally recognized model.  Inmates are learning viable skills and building self confidence that affords them opportunities to lead productive lives, support their families, and leave behind the life of crime.

 

New Mental Health Program for Women

 

The new Mental Health Stabilization Unit (MHSU) was established in 2019 at the women’s facility in Union City. The MHSU is a collaboration with jail medical provider NaphCare to address the acute needs of females incarcerated in the Fulton County Jail South Annex.  The women participating in this program are housed in a highly structured pod with specially trained staff.  These inmates take part in group counseling and activities daily.  The housing pods have a point system which provides residents incentives for appropriate behaviors and group participation. 

 

The program is divided into three phases each consisting of 2 months. The overall outcome for the program is to develop transitional skills that will be beneficial to the participants’ development within the community; thus, to reduce recidivism.  A critical component of the mission is to provide the female inmates skills necessary to transition into society making them healthy, productive, law abiding citizens.  

 

Innovative Ideas to Reduce Recidivism

In 2019, female inmates began attending the first Basic Computer Applications classes at the South Jail Annex. The 6-month course teaches basic computer concepts, navigation, and Microsoft Office. This is giving them practical skills to complete assignments in preparation for when they are able to enter the workforce upon release. The inmates tell us this is building their confidence and they look forward to applying for jobs to utilize these new skills. This is a partnership with Platform of Hope, a nonprofit organization that offers instruction and coordinates the Basic Computer Applications Class.

Another great collaboration at the South Jail Annex led to the establishment of the first Cosmetology Program for female inmates.  Lorene Shields volunteered to teach the Full Sircle 360 of America curriculum with support from Captain Terri Glanton and Captain Tyna Taylor. In addition to styling locks, the inmates learn about the importance of wellness as it relates to the health of one’s hair. Upon successful completion of the program, inmates are able to earn certificates in hair braiding. Braiding is a booming business. The Cosmetology Program is another positive avenue for graduates to secure gainful employment upon release from jail.  The classes also allow inmates to focus their energy as a group to support one another and build self-esteem. 

The South Jail Annex underwent improvements to living spaces for inmates.  An extensive project focused on renovating showers, removing rust, and painting.  The South Jail Annex in Union City became under the control of Fulton County in 2018. Since taking over, the Sheriff’s Office has devoted resources to update the facility and enhance programs.

Journey to Wholeness for LBGTQ Inmates

The Journey to Wholeness Program began in 2019 to address the needs of LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer) inmates. This program takes a comprehensive approach to help these inmates adjust and provides them with a positive forum to discuss their individual challenges.  This journey is vital to help these inmates achieve a healthy balance in their lives and become better equipped to cope while in jail and begin charting a path to success. The overall goal is for participants across the gender/sexual orientation spectrum to discover authenticity and wholeness.

The Fulton County Jail enhanced suicide prevent protocols to take a more proactive approach to help vulnerable inmates earlier.  Jail and medical personnel are working to identify potentially suicidal inmates during the initial booking stage. Staff automatically place inmates on suicide watch who are returning from court after receiving life or lengthy sentences. This process has resulted in a drastic decrease in suicides at the Fulton County Jail.  

 

The Training Section is facilitating mandatory behavior and mental health training for all Fulton County Sheriff’s Office employees. During the compulsory 8-hour course, staff members are given an overview of medical and mental health services available to inmates in the jail system.  Staff also receive instruction on how to identify inmates who may require services which has so far resulted in a marked decrease in medical incidents.  This course is the perfect complement to procedures already in place so that resources to help inmates can be put to the best use.  

 

A television news crew from France visited the Fulton County Jail to report on our practices.  The journalists interviewed staff and inmates thoughtfully showing a genuine interest in the lives touched by the Fulton County Jail system.  The story was produced for a long form magazine program as part of a series on the American justice system. We are proud to employ the best practices and represent our country.

Embracing New Technology

The Law Enforcement Division continues to make strides by utilizing training and technology to give staff the tools they need to perform their duties efficiently.  The Fugitive Unit has taken a fresh approach to utilize more eyes to help close cases. The Fulton Fugitive feature on www.fultonsheriff.net  highlights the most dangerous absconders. The web interface and the partnership with Crime Stoppers Atlanta continue to yield numerous productive leads. In 2019, the Fugitive Unit apprehended 14 of the “Fulton Fugitive Top Ten” making our community safer.

Axon body worn cameras are the norm for deputies in the Law Enforcement Division.  An Axon vehicle camera was installed in a transport van to increase safety for staff and inmates. A grant is making it possible for a K-9 to be outfitted with a camera enabling the handler to see what the dog sees in real time. This is part of our ongoing platform to be transparent and utilize the best technology to keep deputies and the public safe.

The Administration Division secured more than a million dollars for public safety and improvements to facilities: $550,000 for repairs and renovations the main jail and much needed upgrades to the motor pool; $270,000 for the purchase of 175 TASER® units; and $250,000 to replace an inmate bus and an inmate transport van. 

Standing Watch to Keep Citizens and Employees Safe

The Court Services Division screened more than a million persons entering the Justice Center Complex without incident.  Staff identified and confiscated almost 2,000 prohibited items including 10 guns, 742 knives and other contraband. 

Longtime Fulton County Sheriff’s Office employee and commander of the Court Services Division, Lieutenant Colonel Maria McKee was named the Fulton County Marshal in late 2019.  Marshal McKee leaves a legacy of excellence at the Sheriff’s Office having served in all the ranks of a deputy sheriff to division commander. Now, she leads deputy marshals and we could not be prouder of her achievements. Congratulations, Marshal McKee!

Community Outreach is at the heart of what we do. Outreach Section commander Lieutenant Shavonne Edwards expanded efforts by including members of the Direct Action Response Team (D.A.R.T.). D.A.R.T. members specialize in gang intelligence at the Fulton County Jail.  That knowledge and experience bring a fresh perspective that is relatable for students.  Lt. Edwards and her team are credited with keeping staff members engaged with the public which is enjoyable and helps to achieve our constitutional mandate to support and educate the community as a method to prevent and reduce crime.

The members of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office are dedicated to serving you as am I. It is an honor to serve as your Fulton County Sheriff.

Sincerely,

Theodore “Ted” Jackson, Sheriff