If you’ve been to jail before, I’m sure that you’re thanking your lucky stars that you weren’t in prison. For those of us that use the terms interchangeably, there are distinct differences between jail and prison. In this article, we’ll be discussing some of those details in Fulton County Jail, which is located at 901 Rice St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318.
Rice Street Jail (AKA Fulton County Jail)
Fulton County Jail is managed by the county (also known as the jail “near rice street“). After a defendant gets arrested for a crime for anything other than a simple traffic offense, they are transported to Fulton County Jail. Under the county’s jurisdiction, the presiding law enforcement agency is the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department. This department handles everything including the arrest, booking, and eventual release of the defendant. The Rice Street jail in Fulton is meant for the short term while the defendant awaits their hearing, sentencing, or bail to be paid to the courts. While they are waiting for one of the aforementioned, they are considered an “inmate” and a ward of the county. While Rice Street Jail is meant for most defendants as a “waiting room,” most people after they are sentenced will do their time in the same jail.
Rice Street Jail (Fulton County) Operations
After a defendant is arrested, they will then be officially booked by either a deputy or booking officer at Fulton County Jail. The next available business day (not including weekends) they will have their initial appearance before the judge. At this point, bail will be set, the charges may be dismissed, or the defendant will be released on his or her own recognizance.
While incarcerated at the Rice Street location, an inmate has very little to look forward to in the way of every day jail life. Jails are meant as a temporary holding facility so they have very little amenities compared to prisons. Prisons are for “lifers” and have more amenities. They are also set outside of city limits. Fulton County Jail, however, can give inmates a lot of anxiety because there are so many things to do near Rice Street in Fulton. It’s in the middle of West Midtown, Atlanta! That aside, prisoners do have access to showers, adequate nutrition, water, medical care, and bathrooms, but not much more. Once an inmate has been transferred into their pod, which is just a wing of the jail with an open bed structure, he or she can usually find a few books lying around (usually with pages missing), and maybe even some homemade board games.
The Jail on Rice Street Differs Entirely From a Georgia Prison
People in the Rice Street Jail are there mostly for simple misdemeanors. There are by no means “hardened criminals” in Fulton County Jail. The inmates most likely missed a couple probation appointments, failed a drug test, or didn’t comply with a court order or their probation officer. There are plenty of examples of that in our recent Fulton County News for October 2017 segment. If they aren’t there for one of those reasons, it’s usually drug or alcohol related. People in prison, however, can oftentimes be habitual offenders and a judge/jury has deemed it necessary to up the ante, so to speak, and sentence the person to a more permanent situation.