Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s longtime promise to shut down the city’s jail appears to be coming to fruition.
On Monday, the Atlanta City Council approved a resolution that would form a task force charged with determining what should become of the Atlanta City Detention Center.
The ultimate goal would be to find a way to transform the jail, which has historically held violators of city ordinances and traffic laws, into a place “that could benefit the entire community and serve as a center for equity,” according to a council press release.
What exactly a “center for equity” could look like remains to be seen.
The task force would be made up of at least 25 people, ranging from city officials to regular Atlantans.
We have taken another critical step forward in the march for criminal justice reform by passing legislation to begin closing the Atlanta City Detention Center. The work continues to repurpose our jail to serve our communities and do the most good. #OneAtlanta— Keisha Lance Bottoms (@KeishaBottoms) May 20, 2019
City councilmembers Matt Westmoreland and Antonio Brown have already been tapped to join the group, and the other members are expected to be selected over the next 30 days.
Once banded, the task force will have about a year to come up with a new use for the jail.
It would also be tasked with collecting public input regarding the fate of the jail, and Bottoms has said she wants people affected by the criminal justice system to have a say.
The downtown detention center has been in use since 1995, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
At least one group has already started brainstorming ideas for its future.
Nonprofit Women on the Rise recently secured a $150,000 grant to help design the reimagined building, and activists hope it could become “a wellness and freedom center that would provide residents with a one-stop shop for employment, healthcare, and child care assistance,” according to the paper.