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Chatham County Jail

1050 Carl Griffin Dr,
Savannah, GA 31405
(912) 652-7700

Interview with Charlie and Kurt

JM: How long was your sentencing for?
Charlie: 2 1/2 months
Kurt: 20 years serve 15/5probated

JM: Did you spend time in a holding cell after your sentencing? If so, what was that like? If you didn't where did they they take you instead?
Charlie: I actually don't mind being in the holding cell alone but when I'm in there with 15-20 people it's terrible
Kurt: I went back to my unit looking confused and mad at the world instead of myself for making bad choices

Life On the Inside
For 90 years, the original Chatham County jail was located next to the police department, housing 300 inmates. Starting in the 1990s, it became abundantly clear that the jail could no longer serve the needs of the community, and a new facility was built. This new facility increased the capacity to 1,224 inmates. In a sad sign of the times, the jail has once again become overcrowded, and plans are underway for yet another expansion, which will take the capacity up to 2,774 inmates.

The current jail is arranged in six different cell blocks. An attempt is made by the prison staff to segregate the inmates based on the level of their offenses, but sometimes the overcrowding can mean inmates of all stripes being housed together. As you can imagine this can cause a lot of tension among the prisoners.

Inmates are allowed to go outdoors every day but the yard is extremely small especially given the number of inmates. There are the usual amount of cards, books, magazines and a television with closed caption for watching. Prescription medications are dispensed by a nurse for those prisoners in need. Often the generic form of the drug is what is handed out to save money.

According to a former inmate, most of the food lacked any kind of spice. However, the chicken was accepted by all as to be "as valuable as gold."

Good Behavior Policy
When it comes to good-time credit in Georgia, there is a world of difference between the state prison and county prison system. On the state level there is no good-time credit. At the county jails inmates can earn a day for every day sentenced but only if you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense. Violent offenders are sentenced under a two-strike law and must serve out 100% of their sentence with no exceptions for that second strike.

Visitor and Telephone Policy
Inmates who haven't gotten into trouble are granted two visitations per week. A visitor needs to show a valid I.D. before they will be admitted. It's been stated that sometimes the wait to see an inmate can last up to three hours.

They are also very serious about the dress code: No ripped clothing or clothing with holes, no low cut shirts and cleavage must be completely covered. Same for midriffs and stomachs. Inmates are only permitted to make collect calls from the jail. No third party calls.

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