Muscogee County Jail over capacity as inmate trials are delayed; DA responds

Muscogee County Jail over capacity as inmate trials are delayed; DA responds

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - According to officials, the Muscogee County Jail is reportedly packed to capacity.

Sheriff Donna Tompkins said the Muscogee County is filled with over 1,168 inmates, 99 over the capacity limit.

There are currently hundreds waiting for their day in court, and the majority of the cases face felony charges.

“It’s like, this crime in Columbus is getting outrageous, not only for my child who got murdered, but my two classmates. Their kids got murdered,” said Tangi Shorter, mother of 2017 murder victim, Javion Shorter.

Javion Shorter, 17, was killed after being shot at Ballard Way Apartments in November 2017.

Within weeks, Columbus police arrested 19-year old Nashira Miller, 19-year-old Daijon Williams, and 17-year-old Javon McClendon. Al three are charged with murder.

Shorter said since that time, she’s just been waiting.

The case is still yet to be indicted.

“It’s been a long process. One I am really ready to get done with,” said Shorter.

Shorter’s story is just one example of the cases in Columbus.

Officials in the local system insist they’re working hard and making progress getting these cases before a judge.

Others are frustrated that more hasn’t been done to move the needle.

This and more are beginning to make the Muscogee County Jail their permanent home.

“Often times, there is a window that someone has to make a first appearance. But, once that first appearance happens, there aren’t many laws to determine the length of time someone has to sit in jail,” said Katonga Wright, attorney for the Wright Legal Group.

Wright said she has been a part of a long investigation targeting the issue of backlogged cases.

She listed a number of possible reasons for this issue, but said addressing the problem is the first step.

She agrees with others, change won’t be an overnight fix.

“It may be that the district attorneys office is overworked. The public defenders office, we know is underfunded and overworked, as well as the judges. I think that’s the biggest problem,” said Wright.

Julia Slater, district attorney for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, is responding to the claims. In a statement, she said,

The DA’s office works diligently to move cases through the criminal justice system. We continue to try new strategies within the confines of our resources.

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