Familiar Faces Project

The Familiar Faces program was launched in 2020 with BJA grant funds to support the Stepping Up initiative. Familiar faces are individuals who frequently cycle through jails, homeless shelters, emergency departments and other crisis services. Under the program, the Court has conducted data analysis to identify these individuals. Once identified, stakeholders take lessons learned to build a public safety infrastructure that links the priority population to community providers and services to reduce criminal justice involvement. 

The pilot project and data reflected are associated with 100 unique individuals with the highest volume of jail bookings at Fulton County Jail (FCJ) and Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC).

  • 93% Black or African-American - compared to 89% of the FCJ general population and 51% of the population of the City of Atlanta
  • 22% Female - three times more common than the average jail population
  • Average Age -  43.8 years

This is evidenced by engagement with key stakeholder agencies. The Familiar Faces pilot cohort engaged with the following agencies:

  • Homeless Management Information System (HMIS):  80%
    • Indicates that the vast majority of this cohort are housing insecure
  • Grady Health Systems:  28% 
    • Includes Substance Use, Psychiatric ED, and Assertive Community Treatment – accounting for over 700 visits to Grady from 2017-2021
  • Competency Restoration:  18%
  • Policing Alternatives & Diversion Initiative:  3%
  • Fulton DBHDD Community Mental Health:  1%   

An examination of 12 years of Atlanta Police Department data spanning the years 2009 through 2020 found that 87 of the total cohort of 100 familiar faces could be matched to APD contact data. Individual-level APD contact data for the 87 members of the Familiar Faces Cohort shows that this group of 87 persons had 3,603 arrest or field contacts with APD officers between 2009 and 2020, for an average of 41 of these types of contacts each. Six members of this cohort had only one contact with APD officers, while six had 100 or more contacts. One person had a total of 217 of these contacts with the APD.  View Full HERE

The project team did further analysis on total jail booking data at both FCJ and ACDC to look for other trends on the most common charges associated with the pilot cohort. The research focused on low-level, non-violent offenses, referred to as Crimes of Interest. Crimes of interest include Criminal Trespass, Theft by Shoplifting, Possession and Use of Drugs, and quality of life offenses that include but are not limited to Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Damage to Property, Public Indecency, Pedestrian Offences and Drinking in Public. 

Fulton County Jail 

  • 7,405 total jail bookings, which constitutes 8-10% of annual bookings 
  • 97,871 jail bed days, amounting to 3.4% of jail bed days
  • Criminal Trespass alone makes up 3.5% of annual bookings (2,600 total bookings) 
  • Theft by Shoplifting alone makes up 1.8% of annual bookings (1,354 total bookings) 
  • Possession and Use of Drugs/Marijuana alone make up 3% of annual bookings (2,260 total bookings)
  • Quality of Life Offenses make up 0.6% of annual bookings (486 total bookings)

Atlanta City Detention Center

  • 19,561 total bookings, comprising 30-35% of annual bookings
  • 93,888 jail bed days, amounting to 44.2% of jail bed days
  • Theft by Shoplifting alone makes up 5% of annual bookings (2,833 bookings)
  • Quality of Life Offenses make up 17.3%%  of annual bookings (10,177 bookings)
  • Possession and Use of Drugs/Marijuana alone makes up 6% of annual bookings (3,524 bookings)

The project team engaged in a cost analysis in order to measure the financial impact of jailing Familiar Faces and these Crimes of Interest. Costs measured include those associated with jail-bed day. Costs are estimated by applying the average cost associated with each jail episode. 

Familiar Faces 

  • Jail Costs (FCJ and ACDC): $3.71 million 
    • FCJ: $3.1 million
    • ACDC: $612,000

Crimes of Interest of Total Jail Population

  • Jail Costs (FCJ and ACDC): $16.79 million
    • FCJ: $9.28 million
    • ACDC: $7.51 million