City of Atlanta
Department of Corrections
254 Peachtree Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Public Information Officer
Though a department with a critical and crucial function for the citizens of Atlanta, the Atlanta Department of Corrections (Department) finds its existence brief in comparison to other City agencies. The Department was formerly known as the Prison Department which managed the City of Atlanta’s 700 bed prison farm located within Northeast Atlanta on Key Road. Inmates at this facility, who served sentences for ordinance and traffic offenses, were routinely assigned to farming, livestock, cannery and dairy operation details. This enabled the detainees to benefit from vocational training and contribute to their sustenance.
In 1975, responsibility for the Atlanta jail and Grady Hospital Detention Center, was transferred to the Prison Department from the Atlanta Police Department to promote professionalism of the City’s Correctional System. At the same time, the Prison Department was reorganized as the Bureau of Correctional Services within the Department of Human and Community Development, a reflection of the new emphasis placed on providing meaningful rehabilitative services to the highly recidivistic offender population. The Bureau was later realigned to coexist under the Department of Public Safety with the police, fire and emergency management agencies.
In 1981, the city replaced its obsolete, traditional, 136-bed jail on Decatur Street. The new facility (Annex) incorporated a new design in detention facility construction. The design was a second generation podular design with 300-beds located on Peachtree Street in the southern portion of the central business district. In 1987, the Annex was expanded by double-bunking a portion of the cells to attain a maximum capacity of 516 beds. The additional bed space was primarily necessary to accommodate the growth of incarcerated offenders related to the advent of illicit drug usage.
In 1990, the Department of Public Safety was abolished and corrections operations were again configured under a single Department of Corrections. In 1995, the city opened its current high-rise jail. This new facility, the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC), is a third generation jail that incorporates the progressive podular/direct supervision style of design and management. The Direct Supervision methodology allows more interaction between detainee and officer, lowering the number of inmate incidents. Originally providing 1,100 beds, its shell space was built-out two years later to house 1,300 inmates. The adjacent Annex remained in operation and in tandem with the ACDC, allowed the consolidation of pretrial and sentenced offenders in one complex. The 50-year old prison farm, though effective in the past, became too inefficient to manage the change in the detainee population and was consequently closed. During the construction of the ACDC, the city contracted to board 300 federal offenders per day over a 15-year period to generate external revenue which would help offset the debt service associated with the new jail.
In January, 2003, the City transferred responsibility for the detention of arrestees charged with state offenses to the Fulton and DeKalb county jails, essentially reducing the scope of city correctional services by approximately one-third. The Annex, no longer necessary for detention operations, was leased to a non-profit organization to service a segment of the homeless population. The Department continues to evaluate and revamp itself to address changing detainee demographics, technology advances and programs that assist with the reintegration of detainees to the community.