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Georgia Prisons

NCJ Number
Date Published
77 pages
The Georgia Advisory Committee report on conditions in Georgia's adult penal institutions examines racial patterns in prison work assignments, education and vocational opportunities, and overall treatment of inmates.
This report on Georgia prisons is based on information presented at an informal hearing and on field work done by The Georgia Advisory Committee and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Advisory Committee found that although the more recent State administrations have been progressive, the prison system suffers from inadequate funds to maintain facilities and services for its prisoners. Many of the prisons are antiquated, overcrowded, and understaffed. Minorities are not hired proportionately to their numbers in the State population because the prisons are located in rural, predominantely white areas. As of July 1975, there were only 213 blacks on the staff, while there were 6,080 black inmates in a total prison population of 10,109. White staff numbered 1,847. The committee found that one cause of recidivism (60-70 percent) was that most of the work done by Georgia inmates has little, or, at best, very low marketability outside prison: argricultural labor, prison, and highway maintenance. According to the State Corrections commissioner, a substantial portion of the prison population cannot be assigned to more sophisticated tasks becasue of the lack of properly trained personnel. In fact, the limited number of guards restricts the number of inmates given anything to do outside their cells. The committee found that the medical services are inadequate; only three institutions have full-time doctors or dentists. No full-time psychiatrist is employed. There are no consistent rules regarding specific penalties for specific rule infractions; disciplinary practices are left to the discretion of wardens. Moreover, the legal services provided are inadequate. The State assumes no responsibility for the provision of legal counsel after the inmates have been sentenced by the courts. In addition, neither academic training nor recreation programs are priorities at most institutions. The Advisory Committee made the following recommendations to the State legislature and to the board of corrections: active recruitment of black staff, provision of opportunities for inmates to learn marketable skills or trades, expansion of work release and recreation programs, and provision of academic training. (Author abstract modified)