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May 16, 19

Uprising at DeKalb County Jail, Georgia

Perilous Chronicle documents the recent uprising at DeKalb County Jail in Georgia, right outside of Atlanta during a noise demonstration against horrific conditions people have been fighting against in recent weeks. For more background information, see our article here.

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During a protest by outside supporters in front of the jail, inmates inside smashed out windows in all three buildings of the facility. Many of the inmates then attempted to communicate through the smashed windows with protesters outside, shouting “help us” and “there is mold.” Another inmate held up a sign to the window that read “strangled by CO King. While cuffed behind back.”

Some inmates unsuccessfully attempted to throw letters out of the broken windows to protesters below, with most of them being caught on a ledge above. Inmates shouted through their broken windows that guards were spraying them with pepper spray.

Inmate workers could also be seen on the first floor jumping and waving to protesters outside. At least 100 officers responded including swat teams, a bomb squad, and a helicopter. Four outside protesters were arrested during the protest. A fund was established for their bail.

The protest occurred about one month after a previous protest at the same facility on April 12, 2019, called by the same groups. Both protests were organized in response to urgent calls from prisoners for support and complaints of deplorable conditions at the facility.

Earlier this year, prisoners released a video using a jail-issued tablet during a video visit show the food they were being served and photos of themselves holding signs made of styrofoam food trays. The messages included, “Dekalb jail is mistreating us!!!”, “We sleep & breathe mold”, and “Please help we dying! Need food!!!!”.

Prisoners inside the jail released the following statement about their conditions and call for support:

“Inmates in the DeKalb County Jail is actually dying and being subjected to unhealthy conditions; breathing and sleeping with mold, having skin break outs, being assaulted by correctional officers in areas of the jail where there are no cameras etc. STAND FOR THESE YOUNG MEN! they are caged away with no voice. No matter what they are incarcerated for, they do not deserve to live in such treacherous conditions! most of them are there awaiting trials or traffic tickets… They are innocent until PROVEN guilty. But judge ye not! Repost and share! Let our voices be heard for them to get attention of officials who can have this facility investigated and fix the conditions.”

‘Please Help We Are Dying’: Protests Called as Anger Grows Over Viral Photos from Inside Dekalb County Jail“, It’s Going Down, April 11, 2019.

Atlanta, GA: Defend Inmates, Destroy Carceral Capitalism“, It’s Going Down, April 13, 2019.

Atlanta IWOC (@AtlantaIWOC) May 16, 2019. “Folks locked up are calling through their busted windows, saying guards tried to spray them. One tried to drop us a bag of mold as proof.” [Tweet]. Accessed May 15, 2019.

Atlanta IWOC (@AtlantaIWOC) May 16, 2019. “Prisoners have broken many cell windows – desperate for breathable air!#DeKalbCountyJail #JusticeForInmates” [Tweet]. Accessed May 15, 2019.

Hannah Riley (@hannahcrileyy) May 15, 2019. “Now someone inside DeKalb jail holds up a sign to the window: “strangled by CO King. While cuffed behind back.” [Tweet]. Accessed May 15, 2019.

AE (@aedagreat). January 4, 2018. [Instagram Post]. Accessed May 15, 2019.

Anonymous participant in outside protest on May 15, 2019 at DeKalb County Jail. May 15, 2019. Personal interview.

“Please Help We Dying: Noise demo to support Dekalb Co inmates” [Facebook Event]. Hosted by Hosted by Atlanta Anarchist Black Cross and Atlanta Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee – IWOC. April 12, 2019. Accessed May 15, 2019.

“Support DeKalb County Jail Protest Arrestees!”, The Action Network, n.d.

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Perilous is a project supported by a network of people—including you—who seek to gather and track information on prison uprisings, riots, protests, strikes, and other disturbances within public and private jails, prisons, and detention centers in the US and Canada. In this process, we rely on crowdsourced information in addition to local news outlets and our own reporting.

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