▶ Watch Video: Inmate allegedly “eaten alive” by bedbugs at jail where Trump will surrender

Former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants who were indicted earlier this month in Georgia are in the process of being booked at a jail that is currently being investigated for safety violations by the Department of Justice.

They’ve been ordered to turn themselves in for processing by Friday, Aug. 25, at the Rice Street Jail in Atlanta, part of the Fulton County Jail system. It is not clear how long the process will take, but they are not expected to be held for an extended period of time. Several of the defendants in the case have already turned themselves in and had mug shots taken. Trump is set to turn himself in on Thursday evening.

Why is Fulton County Jail being investigated?

The Justice Department investigation of the Fulton County Jail, which has its main location on Rice Street, launched in July after a man incarcerated there was, according to his family, “eaten alive” by bedbugs. The jail has faced allegations that it’s “structurally unsafe, that prevalent violence has resulted in serious injuries and homicides, and that officers are being prosecuted for using excessive force,” according to the Justice Department. After the federal investigation into the jail was announced, Sheriff Pat Labat said the humanitarian crisis at the facility was not new.

“I have publicly, privately, and repeatedly raised concerns about the dangerous overcrowding, dilapidated infrastructure and critical staffing shortages at the jail,” Labat said on July 13. “The best possible outcome of the report from the Department of Justice is that it will confirm the findings of the Jail Feasibility Study completed in March of 2023 — that the Rice Street Jail is not viable and a replacement jail is needed.”

A few weeks after the investigation began, another Fulton County inmate, Christopher Smith, 34, died on Aug. 11 after he was found unresponsive in a medical unit cell at the Rice Street jail facility.  Lashawn Thompson, the 35-year-old man who died in his bedbug-infested cell in September of 2022, was dealing with untreated schizophrenia and “severe neglect” at the jail, according to an independent autopsy report.

Thompson’s family reached a $4 million settlement with the county earlier this month.

“We stand with the Thompson family and their call for the Rice Street facility to be replaced and remain committed to do the work to bring about the necessary reforms so that something like this never happens again,” Labat said in early August.

Labat last year said the jail was in crisis with extreme overcrowding, according to CBS Atlanta. More than 400 inmates were sleeping on the jail’s floor at the time.

What can Trump, 18 co-defendants expect at the jail?

Officials have not specifically said what to expect when Trump and his co-defendants arrive to be booked at the jail. Most of those who surrendered so far were released on bond. Harrison Floyd, who surrendered on Thursday along with Mark Meadows, did not negotiate a bond agreement in advance and was being held at the jail Thursday, officials said.

Trump said he has agreed to a $200,000 bond. The former president’s arrival at the jail is set to prompt a “hard lockdown” of the area, according to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said after the indictment was unsealed that Trump and the 18 others have until noon on Aug. 25 to surrender to authorities.

“Keep in mind, defendants can turn themselves in at any time. The jail is open 24/7,” the sheriff’s office said.

According to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office website, individuals who have been placed under arrest are first transported to the county’s main jail, the Rice Street location. After arrival, they complete property intake, a medical screening, fingerprinting, photographing and a warrants check.

Though Trump was not required to have a mug shot taken following his previous criminal indictments in New York, Florida and Washington, D.C., the sheriff says they’re planning to take one in Georgia.

“Doesn’t matter your status, we’ll have mug shots ready for you,” Labat said at a media briefing Aug. 1.

Local officials have provided booking photos for other defendants in the case.

“While the staff at the Main Jail is dedicated to ensuring the prompt processing and release of eligible arrestees, the amount of time required to complete this process may be affected by the volume of arrestees being processed simultaneously and/or the availability of information from state and national databases,” the sheriff’s office site says.

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