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Justice Department investigating Georgia state prisons after 44 inmate deaths, LGBT assaults

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Kristen Clarke

The Justice Department on Tuesday launched a sweeping investigation into the Georgia state prison system plagued by extreme staffing shortages and a culture of violence and neglect in which at least 44 inmates have died by homicide since last year.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said the inquiry was sparked by alarming reports of prisoner-on-prisoner attacks, along with prisoner and staff assaults on gay, lesbian and transgender inmates.

Earlier this month, the Georgia detention system was named in a federal civil rights lawsuit, alleging "abysmal" conditions inside solitary confinement wings that have "deteriorated past the point of constitutional crisis."

In the lawsuit, the Southern Center for Human Rights asserted that 70% of the 300 people held in solitary confinement suffered from "serious" mental illness.


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