Georgia jail fails to let out inmates who are due for release and met bail, citing crashed database

JONESBORO, Ga. (AP) — The jail in a suburban Atlanta county held inmates for days who were due for release because a state database had crashed, preventing jailers from being able to check whether a person was wanted in another jurisdiction.

Officials in Clayton County said they stopped releasing inmates, including those who had been bailed out, because they didn’t want to release someone who might be wanted elsewhere for a more serious crime. They rely on an automated fingerprint identification system to check criminal histories in a database maintained by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, officials said.

GBI spokesperson Nelly Miles confirmed the system stopped working on Wednesday. She said technicians got the systems back online late on Saturday.

“We recognize this as a vital service for criminal justice agencies and have notified our users that the service has been restored,” Miles told news outlets.

Deputies would be recalled to process and release inmates, Clayton County Sheriff Levon Allen said in a statement Sunday. But relatives said they were still waiting late Sunday. A spokesperson for Allen didn’t return a phone call Monday from The Associated Press seeking an update.

People who had posted bail for their loved ones said they didn’t understand the delay.

“It’s just very frustrating. My two-year-old keeps asking where’s his daddy?” Venisha Pryce told WAGA-TV.

Pryce said her husband was arrested for driving on a suspended license Friday, but that deputies refused to release him, even though no cash bail was required. Pryce said her husband missed her 2-year-old’s birthday while in jail.

Erica Redmond said her niece was arrested on traffic charges and was still being held after Redmond posted $4,000 bail.

“The whole situation is just unbelievable to me,” Redmond told WSB-TV.

In April, there was a racketeering indictment charged in the Clayton County jail — where pretrial detainees were assaulted, kidnapped and extorted by gang members with the aid of at least one jail guard.

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