The Atlanta City Council and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms have agreed to close the municipal detention center.
“No longer will Atlanta be in the jail business,” the mayor said in a news release Tuesday.
“Today, we have taken another critical step forward in the march for criminal justice reform by beginning the work to repurpose our jail to serve the people of Atlanta as a Center for Equity. The process will be an inclusive one to ensure stakeholders and those most impacted by the criminal justice system have a seat at the table.”
The council approved a resolution from the mayor’s office Monday. Atlanta City Councilmember Andre Dickens sponsored the legislation on behalf of the Bottoms administration. The resolution establishes a task force to evaluate potential uses for the facility to benefit communities.
“We have taken another step forward in the march for criminal justice reform,” Bottoms tweeted after the vote Monday. “The work continues to repurpose our jail to serve our communities and do the most good.”
Bottoms signed an executive order last year refusing to accept new detainees of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She said she had been horrified watching children being separated from their parents at the Mexican border and refused to be complicit in separating families.
The resolution outlines a process in which Bottoms will publicly post a solicitation of nominations for additional individuals who would like to be considered to serve on the task force. The mayor will select not more than 25 people representing named departments of government and other groups, and may add representatives of city government whose input should be considered.
The council made two appointments to the task force Monday. Council President Felicia Moore selected Councilmember Matt Westmoreland as her appointment. Councilmember Dustin Hillis, chair of the Public Safety/Legal Administration Committee, selected Councilmember Antonio Brown as his appointment.