Fulton County Jail Was Notorious Before Donald Trump Was Set To Surrender There

Georgia's Fulton County Jail has become the center of political buzz, as former President Donald Trump and his conspirators are hit with criminal charges. Due to his attempts to recall the 2020 election, Trump was ordered to surrender at Fulton County Jail on August 24, 2023. He has been charged with 13 RICO violations, which include conspiring to file false documents, impersonating a public officer, and other crimes.

On August 23, 2023, infamous former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was one of 18 conspirators booked in connection to the racketeering case. Ironically, Giuliani was a mass prosecutor of RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) in the '80s during his tenure as a U.S. attorney. On his way to Fulton County, Giuliani told news outlets: "I don't know if I plead today, but if I do, I'll plead not guilty." Trump's former attorney continued, "And I'll get photographed, isn't that nice? A mugshot, [of] the man who probably put the worst criminals of the 20th century in jail" (per CBS News).

While citizens around the country await Trump's booking, it turns out this isn't the first time Fulton County Jail has been at the center of a media frenzy. The detention center is under federal surveillance due to unexplained inmate deaths and has also set the scene for true-crime reality television. As Trump's booking is set to be televised, the infamous jail is living up to its reputation.

Fulton County Jail served as the backdrop of '60 Days In'

A&E's "60 Days In" touched down at Fulton County Jail for its 3rd and 4th Seasons. This unscripted reality series incarcerates volunteers for up to 60 days in order to gather intel on the inner workings of the prison system. Due to their undercover status, the mission is incredibly risky — several volunteers have had to be removed from the series before their sentence was up, due to mental and physical strain.

From 2017 to 2018, Fulton County Jail was the setting for the "60 Days In" program. Colonel Mark Adger allowed A&E to film in his jail after seeing how the series positively impacted prisons from earlier seasons. "This is way out there when it comes to risk-taking ... I decided this would be the only way to perhaps shock us out of any complacency we had settled in," he explained to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adger's concerns also shed light on the serious problems plaguing the lockup: Gangs, contraband drugs, and abuse at the hands of officers. 

In some seasons, volunteers were former convicts themselves. Thus, they had less difficulty gaining the trust of inmates — where crimes at Fulton County Jail range from drug possession to homicide. But for volunteers who had never been locked up before, the mission was much more difficult — one regretfully blowing their cover. As Season 7 of "60 Days In" got even more intricate, the show gained more popularity.

Home to high-profile inmates, Fulton County Jail is under investigation

After the harrowing death of an inmate in 2022, the Department of Justice is investigating Fulton County Jail due to inhumane living conditions. Lashawn Thompson's medical reports attribute his death to unmedicated mental illness, malnutrition, and lice infestation. Due to this evidence, the DOJ is performing a deep dive into civil rights violations at the jail, including mental health access.

In addition to the violence that inmates face from each other, their treatment at the hands of corrections officers is also being questioned. Calls for criminal justice reform aren't new and have only become more publicized as popular figures face time behind bars. Recently, Fulton County Jail housed rappers Young Thug and Gunna, who were indicted on RICO charges in 2022. If Trump makes his required appearance at the lockup, he will undoubtedly become the jail's most high-profile detainee.

However, once the disgraced businessman posts his $200,000 bond, he must adhere to strict conditions while free. If Trump violates his bond agreement, the consequences could be as minor or serious as Judge Scott McAfee determines. These sanctions range from Trump being called into custody to expensive fines. In order to avoid these punishments, Trump must refrain from threats — whether direct or indirect — towards any individuals involved in the case. This includes inflammatory social media posts, but due to Trump's harsh words on Twitter, this rule may be a major dealbreaker.