A new project to make prisons more accountable is being headed up by an Atlanta civil rights group. The Southern Center for Human Rights is starting the Damon Lee Project in hopes of making the criminal justice system more transparent. It’s named after a man who was murdered in 2002 by his cellmate in Autrie state prison in southwest Georgia.
Southern center lawyer Sarah Gerraghty says when his mother tried to find out more information surrounding Lee’s death, the State Department of Corrections wasn’t helpful, and that scenario is common in these situations, “They often have difficulty or are turned away when they seek information about the circumstances surrounding their loved ones death. The public, in these cases - the families have every right to know how these institutions are being managed.”
Garraghty says the project pushes for open records in the prison system and the southern center has several lawsuits in Alabama surrounding the issue, and some ongoing investigations in Georgia.