Fulton Commissioners pose questions to sheriff about new jail wristbands

ATLANTA, Ga. – Fulton Commissioners say they really feel “duped” after approving $2.1 million in emergency funding to buy new wristbands on the Rice Road jail.

The wearable know-how is designed to trace inmate well being. However now commissioners are questioning the accuracy of the bracelets and the cash path.

This all happened when Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat requested commissioners for greater than $5 million {dollars} final spring to assist clear up the jail. Ten inmates have died in custody this 12 months and one inmate might have died from a mattress bug infestation in September of 2022.

Commissioners accepted the emergency funding in April, particularly offering 2.1 million for one thousand new Talitrix wristbands to be put in by July.

Talitrix is a neighborhood tech firm that’s developed wearable know-how to trace an inmate’s coronary heart charge and important indicators. If ranges enhance or lower out of regular vary a digital alert notifies jail personnel.

“These wearables in in the present day’s day in age, there are definitely issues about biometric data, privateness, and that type of stuff and what occurs with this knowledge? Notably when it’s going to a 3rd occasion,” Fulton vice chairman Bob Ellis stated.

Ellis has privateness issues in regards to the wristbands but in addition desires to know why Sheriff Labat didn’t open up to the board that Fulton had a earlier settlement with Talitrix in 2021. He famous that Talitrix has already been paid 733-thousand {dollars} below the present contract.

“The place did the cash go? How a lot has truly been expended,” Ellis questioned.

As of the final week of September, Talitrix stated solely 13 wristbands have been up and working on the Rice Road jail facility, which has commissioners questioning the place the remainder are.

“I don’t wish to put phrases of their mouths, however I believe a few of my different commissioners really feel duped,” Ellis stated.” Submit that July interval, we had 5 inmates die within the jail who would’ve been probably sporting this stuff, however they weren’t!”

Talitrix CEO, Justin Hawkins, informed Atlanta Information First that he was stunned by what commissioners needed to say in regards to the wristbands throughout their Wednesday afternoon assembly.

The bands are usually not new to Fulton County jail services based on Hawkins. He says that Talitrix put in the identical wristbands on the North Fulton Alpharetta annex initially of final 12 months. He added that Ellis got here to Wednesday’s fee assembly “ill-prepared and with out correct data.”

Hawkins says set up of the wristband know-how has been repeatedly delayed over the past six months on account of inmate deaths and an absence of obtainable deputies to watch his building crews. He hopes to have the remainder of the bands on-line by the top of the 12 months.

Now commissioners need solutions and clarification from Sheriff Labat.

“I’m going to offer him the good thing about the doubt and ask that he comes right here and tell us what’s occurring. As a result of on the finish of the day, it’s about accountability,” Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman stated.

In a press release despatched to Atlanta Information First Wednesday evening, Sheriff Labat’s workplace stated he welcomes and appreciates the chance to debate the progress of the jail know-how initiative with the Board of Commissioners on the subsequent assembly.

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