It is expected that former President Donald Trump will surrender to the most populous county jail in Georgia on Thursday, August 24th, a overcrowded facility with a reputation for violence and negligence that has triggered a federal investigation into conditions there.
Trump will be released from the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, colloquially known as Rice Street Jail, once he is charged with conspiring unlawfully to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia.
Not all criminal defendants are treated this way. Others have spent months, or even years, there before being charged.
When defendants arrive at the building, they typically go through a security check before checking in formally at the lobby.
They are taken to a large, open room with stations for fingerprinting, mug shots, and medical assessments, said attorney Michael Harper, who toured the jail several years ago and has filed several lawsuits over inmate deaths that occurred there.
The room usually has numerous defendants being booked at any given time, along with jail staff and guards. Given Trump’s security needs, this may be unlikely this time.
The jail accepts people 24 hours a day and holds defendants facing a range of charges, from misdemeanors to violent crimes.
Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat said earlier this month that Trump will be treated like other defendants.
However, the former president, who still has 24-hour Secret Service protection, may receive some accommodations for security reasons. In his previous appearances in a New York state court and federal courts in Miami and Washington, Trump was not handcuffed while in custody. He also was not asked to pose for a mug shot; instead, officials used existing photos of the former president.
His visit in Atlanta could be different in that regard.
The jail is a few kilometers from downtown Atlanta on the city’s west side. It is across from a sprawling new park in an area with a mix of warehouses and residential development.
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release on Monday that there will be a “strict closure” of the area surrounding the jail when Trump surrenders. This likely means that people won’t be able to get close.
For now, Trump is not scheduled to appear in court on Thursday. Unlike other jurisdictions, initial appearances in Fulton County, where a defendant first comes before the court, are generally scheduled after the defendant completes the booking process.