Mayor Franklin works out plan to sell city jail to Fulton County

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and her staff have reportedly worked out a deal to sell the city’s jail to Fulton County for $41.7 million during the next 15 years. However, Fulton County claims it is not a done deal yet.

The proposed deal, which has to be approved by the Atlanta City Council and Fulton County Commissioners, also has the city allowing the county to use four courtrooms in the municipal courthouse near the jail, which is located near Peachtree Street and I-20 downtown. In turn, the county would set aside up to 400 of some 1,300 beds at the jail for city inmates.

The city would allow Fulton not to make payments for the first two years due to the county’s current budget problems. The proposal was discussed for the first time with council members at the Dec. 2 meeting of the Finance/Executive Committee.

Dist. 9 Council member Felicia Moore suggested the measure be put on hold until after the new mayor and council take office in January and council deferred action on it at its last meeting for 2009.

New initiative creates safe spots for victims

Mayor Shirley Franklin unveiled Dec. 4 a new initiative by which all Atlanta fire stations become “Safe S.P.O.T.S.” to give victims of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault or exploitation and infant abandonment a safe place from those who have harmed them.

Some victims are afraid to go to the police when attacked, so fire stations became the logical safe place for them. The fire department workers will get them medical attention and call the police or contact counseling agencies. In recent months, each Atlanta firefighter received training to assist victims.

The city is working with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, the state Department of Family and Children Services, the Victim’s Assistance Network and the Grady Rape Crisis Center.

The new initiative was the brainchild of former Fire Rescue Chief Kelvin Cochran.