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'Constitutional crisis': Georgia human rights group gets DOJ's attention after Ware State Prison riot

Former corrections officers tell 11Alive about inhumane conditions and staffing shortages that were ignored before the dangerous riot at Ware State prison.

Lindsey Basye, Andy Pierrotti

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11Alive’s investigative team, The Reveal, has uncovered information showing the federal government has likely launched an investigation into Georgia’s prison system. The probe follows a request from a civil rights organization last year which outlined deteriorating prison conditions and staffing shortages putting inmates and officers in danger.

Former corrections officers sat down with The Reveal to explain why they believe the systematic problems at the facility lead to the dangerous 2020 riot where hundreds of inmates took over the facility and multiple guards were injured when taken hostage.  

One of those officers speaking out includes a former poster child employee. The Georgia Department of Corrections used his pictures in recruiting materials, including a billboard along GA-400 outside the agency’s training headquarters in Forsyth.

"Yea, I’m actually literally on the billboard,” said Jonathan Daniels, a former member of the elite Correctional Emergency Response Team, or CERT, assigned to Ware State Prison in Waycross, Georgia.

Credit: WXIA