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Georgia Diagnostic Prison in Jackson, Ga., in 2002. Photo: Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Tuesday announced a statewide investigation into conditions of prisons in Georgia, focusing on violence and abuse among inmates.

Driving the news: The investigation will focus on determining whether prisoners are provided with "reasonable protection from physical harm." It will also look at whether LGBTQ prisoners are protected from sexual abuse by other prisoners and staff.

What they're saying: “Ensuring the inherent human dignity and worth of everyone, including people who are incarcerated inside our nation’s jails and prisons, is a top priority,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in the press release.

  • “Under the Eighth Amendment of our Constitution, those who have been convicted of crimes and sentenced to serve time in prisons must never be subjected to cruel and unusual punishments,” she added during a news conference, per the Associated Press.
  • “Individuals sentenced to prison in Georgia Department of Corrections facilities deserve to be treated humanely,” Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine for the Northern District of Georgia said in the press release. “Our office is committed to ensuring state prisoners are safe while serving their sentences."

The big picture: The investigation was prompted by a review of data and other information that pointed to high rates of homicides and other violent acts in Georgia's prisons, AP reported.

  • Clarke added that the Justice Department seeks to address the effects of prison staff shortages, which can help lead to subpar supervision and lower standards of medical and mental health care, per AP.

Go deeper

Dec 17, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Iowa pays tribute to forgotten photographer

Cornelia Clarke. Photo courtesy of the Grinnell Historical Museum, via Wikipedia

Dozens of photographic negatives taken about a century ago by Iowa scientist Cornelia Clarke are now published online by the State Archives of Iowa.

Driving the news: Clarke, who died in 1936, was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame last month.

Most teachers are white. Most students aren't.

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The nation's 6.6 million teacher workforce has grown more racially and ethnically diverse over the past three decades — but not nearly fast enough to keep pace with a student population that's nearing majority-minority in public schools, two new reports show.

Why it matters: The disparities are especially acute between Hispanic students and teachers, and in schools with 90% or higher non-white student populations.

Updated 12 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.