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Gwinnett County Jail

2900 University Pkwy
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
(770) 619-6500

Interview with Jack, Jerry, Sarah, Jesse, Kristie, Tim, Judith and Hector

JM: How long was your sentencing for?
Jack: had to do weekends in the holding cell for 4 weeks.
Jerry: 5 months
Sarah: No sentence, just nearly a year missing out on my life and that of my children.
Jesse: No sentencing
Kristie: I was sentenced to 90 days.
Tim: 10 years, do 5 in prison and spent 5 in court ordered counseling and be on the sex offender registry for life.
Judith: I was sentenced to 10 years, serve 1.
Hector: 90 days, 1st offense

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?
Jack: Yes It was awful....The people that were there doing weekend time had to suffer through all the Drunks and drugged out people that were processed on a nightly basis.....
Jerry: no
Sarah: I spent A LOT of time in a holding cell back and forth for court about my kids in foster care and it was AWFUL. it was gross, smelly and freezing.
Jesse: I was make to feel like an animal. It was expectially cold all the ladies were trying to warm themselves some wrappinh toilet paper around there hands and faces.When I asked officer R.Tieu for a blanket he ordered me back to the roomI told him I had a medical problem he laughed and told me to move back, then he proceeded to laugh point and makeloud jokes about me to another officer.
Kristie: I spent two days in a freezing, disgusting holding cell. If you had to pee there was a toilet in the room only hidden by a metal divider. Male officers could see you go. They kept the temperature in the 60's allegedly to keep germs down but I believe it was just another form of torture. Twice a day in the cell they bring you a carton of juice and a "lunch meat" and "cheese" sandwich on white bread.. I believe there was an orange as well. At any given time there were 5-10 other women in there all fighting over the one phone. There were boxes of feminine products everywhere. Pretty much I just cried and prayed that no one really needed to use the restroom.
Tim: I was not sentenced in Gwenette but like all jails and prisons in Georgia it was race based and whites are a target both by the cops and the inmates. I was beaten and had my nose broken and as with all prisons I was denied medical attention.
Judith: Oh Lord!! I was held in their holding cell for 72 hours!! It was miserable! It was freezing cold in there and very crowded.If you wanted to lay down you had to do it in the nasty floor, and allyou had to eat the whole time was bologna sandwiches and milk.
Hector: Dirty and packed holding cells. Peanut butter sandwiches and a baby orange juice.

Life On The Inside
Gwinnett County was established in 1818 and named for one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence. Back then the jail was a one room affair in a barn. Today, that modern Gwinnett County Jail has a capacity to house up to 2,744 inmates with an average daily population of around 2,500. Even though they might mean extra space, dealing with 2,500 can be problematic.

As you might expect, life on the inside at this Georgia jail isn't going to be a "vacation." Even the simple act of trying to watch television can be cause for tension. That's why a former inmate interviewed for this site found the Wednesday and Sunday church services as a welcome relief if for no other reason than to have a calm place to sit for an hour.

Inmates are given access to the outdoor recreational yard throughout the week. There is also a  daily period of 2 hours for free time where inmates can socialize, play cards or just be able to get out of their cells and walk around in the common room. Breakfast is served 5 AM every morning, but apparently many inmates opt for sleeping in. Itís just not worth getting up for. There is a commissary account where inmates can buy snacks and toiletries when money is deposited onto their accounts.

Good Behavior Policy
Georgia has some of the toughest good behavior policies for their state prison system. In the county system, inmates are eligible for a day to day good time provided they walk the straight and narrow while on the inside. This means not getting into trouble with fellow inmates or with the correction staff.

Visitor and Telephone Policy
Inmates are granted weekly visits but it is their responsibility to inform their visitors when that scheduled appointment will be. A visitor needs to arrive at least 30 minutes before the time and each visit is only 30 minutes. Visitors have to present a valid photo ID. Even though the visits are held between a glass partition, visitors still can't bring in any handbags, purses, cell phones, hats or infant bags. Basically, you need to show up dressed appropriately.

For phone calls, inmates can use the phones in their cell blocks provided that are available and not broken which seems to be a big issue. These are for collect calls only.

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