Clayton County

Sen. Jon Ossoff requests DOJ investigate “bleak conditions” at Clayton County Jail

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff, head of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights, is requesting the U.S. Department of Justice investigate conditions at the Clayton County Jail.

According to a letter sent by Ossoff to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the senator has continued to receive “disturbing reports concerning continued abuses inside the jail” even after the conviction and removal of former Sheriff Victor Hill for charges of violating inmates’ civil rights.

The letter comes days after the U.S. Bureau of Prisons confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that Hill’s 18-month sentence had been reduced by roughly three months.

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Additionally, Clayton County Jail would be the second Georgia prison under investigation by DOJ if the department proceeds, following their opening of an investigation into the Fulton County Jail in July.

As a result of the reported continuing complaints received by Ossoff’s office, he has asked for federal intervention. In the letter to Garland, Ossoff cited some examples of recent issues at the jail.

These reports paint a deeply disturbing portrait of systemic rights violations that cannot be overlooked. Rooted in our shared commitment to uphold the pillars of justice and civil rights, I ask the Department of Justice to honor its mandate under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) and investigate Clayton County Jail. One month after the former sheriff’s conviction, Terry Thurmond was booked into Clayton County Jail and died one day later. The 38-year-old man struggled with bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia—a fact the jail failed to document—and tried to jump from a second-story ledge before inmates and jailers pulled him back,” Ossoff wrote in the letter.

Ossoff said that during the struggle with Thurmond, officers used a stun gun and “left him lifeless for 20 minutes” before medical staff arrived.


A medical examiner’s report on the incident ruled his death a homicide, according to Ossoff’s letter. A Clayton County Grand Jury declined to indict the officers involved in the incident.

In a separate example, Ossoff mentioned reports of bedbugs in the jail where an inmate told a reporter “bedbugs feast on him at night...but the guards won’t give him a new uniform.”

“Bleak conditions like bedbug infestations are not limited to Clayton County Jail but reports of medical neglect at the facility shock the conscience,” Ossoff said.

Another incident mentioned focused on jail staff not providing medical treatment because the inmate, Alan Willison Jr., had put in more requests than what was allowed, according to Ossoff’s office.’

Despite suffering from extreme pain and requesting medical treatment, Ossoff said Willison was only given Tylenol. Eventually, Willison died of testicular cancer.

The process of obtaining medical records from the jail was reportedly difficult, requiring court intervention and legal battles between the jail and the medical examiner’s office as reported by Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne.

In multiple examples, listed by Ossoff, the behavior of guards at the jail is central to issues he said were reported to his office.

“Just last month my office heard from a man who alleged that guards beat him in the showers, threatened to stun him with a Taser despite his disclosure that he had a heart condition, and transported him to a hospital when he collapsed in cardiac arrest. He survived but was hospitalized for six days and, according to him, was left with a bill for $95,684.85,” Ossoff said.

Additionally, Ossoff wrote that only a few cases are matters of public records. He cited reporting on inmates Carin Hatchett, Demetrius Alexander, Eugene Evans, Jaylan Goodman and more who “met similar, untimely, unnecessary fates” at the Clayton County Jail.

Ossoff said he was echoing detainees’ and their loved ones’ calls for help, and requesting DOJ assistance to investigate conditions at the Clayton County Jail.

Channel 2 Action News has reached out to Clayton County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Levon Allen for comment on Ossoff’s letter. We are awaiting a response.

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