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Friday, April 4, 2008

Sheriff threw a party for the county jailer

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FULTON COUNTY CHIEF JAILER EDWARD MCNEIL: Jail to the chief

(photo and additional text by Joeff Davis)

On Thursday, Fulton County Sheriff Myron Freeman invited us to a party at the Fulton County Courthouse to welcome the county’s new Chief Jailer, Edward McNeil. It was the strangest and saddest party we’ve ever been to.

After 10 minutes of God-themed speeches, we pulled McNeil aside to ask him hard-hitting questions about being a jailer. But before we could ask him if he thinks it’s just a coincidence that jail rhymes with bail, a guest at the party had a heart attack and died. Kidding around was obviously out of the question after that, so we just wished McNeil luck and departed.

He’ll be a busy man.

A recent Pew Center study put the U.S. prison population at more than 2.3 million people. We have more people in prison than China – a rampant human rights abuser with four-times as many people as the U.S.

Georgia spent nearly $1 billion imprisoning people in 2007 and the state employs the second highest percentage of employees in corrections in the country, behind Texas.

According to Pew, one-in-nine black men in the U.S. between the ages of 20 and 34 are behind bars.

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