Rhonda Cook

Reporter for Enterprise

Rhonda Cook is a native Georgian. She began reporting in 1978 with United Press International and joined the AJC in 1989 with the assignments to cover the Georgia Legislature, politics, state government, prisons and criminal justice matters. In the years since, she has specialized on the criminal justice system.

Latest from Rhonda Cook

Inmates transcribe textbooks into braille, saving Georgia money
 Deep inside Central State Prison, more than a dozen men spend hours each day hunched over a computer keyboard, transcribing math, literature and political science textbooks into braille. The murderers, sex offenders and other criminals — one of them a former cop who shot and wounded a fellow off-duty officer while in a drunken rage...

Posted: 2 days ago

Deep inside Central State Prison, more than a dozen men spend hours each day hunched over a computer keyboard, transcribing math, literature and political science textbooks into braille. The murderers, sex offenders and other criminals — one of them a former cop who shot and wounded a fellow off-duty officer while in a drunken rage...
Youth suicides continue to rise sharply in Georgia
 On a late Wednesday afternoon in May, a 9-year-old boy stepped off his Barrow County school bus, walked into his house, took a gun from the closet and shot himself in the head. The third grader in the small community of Winder, nestled between Atlanta and Athens, was the 16th child in Georgia to kill himself since the beginning of February...

Posted: 6 days ago

On a late Wednesday afternoon in May, a 9-year-old boy stepped off his Barrow County school bus, walked into his house, took a gun from the closet and shot himself in the head. The third grader in the small community of Winder, nestled between Atlanta and Athens, was the 16th child in Georgia to kill himself since the beginning of February...
After 5 inmates die, Fulton County dumps jail health care provider
 Fueled by complaints of inadequate care and the death of five inmates at the Fulton County jail, county commissioners on Wednesday moved to oust the facility’s health care providers. Commissioners voted to replace Tennessee-based Correct Care Solutions and the Morehouse School of Medicine, in Atlanta, with Alabama-based...

Posted: 8 days ago

Fueled by complaints of inadequate care and the death of five inmates at the Fulton County jail, county commissioners on Wednesday moved to oust the facility’s health care providers. Commissioners voted to replace Tennessee-based Correct Care Solutions and the Morehouse School of Medicine, in Atlanta, with Alabama-based...
Atlanta mayor names new director of Public Defender’s Office
 Mayor Kasim Reed named a new public defender for Atlanta Municipal Court just a day after two civil rights groups questioned the reasons for replacing the interim director of that office. Kenneth Days, who was a top deputy to interim director Rosalie Joy, was announced for the post Tuesday with just weeks remaining in Reed’s term. ...

Posted: 9 days ago

Mayor Kasim Reed named a new public defender for Atlanta Municipal Court just a day after two civil rights groups questioned the reasons for replacing the interim director of that office. Kenneth Days, who was a top deputy to interim director Rosalie Joy, was announced for the post Tuesday with just weeks remaining in Reed’s term. ...
Fulton County to end Morehouse contract for inmate care after 5 die
 One inmate committed suicide in August. Two more followed on a single day in September. All three were believed to be in withdrawal from opioid addiction. In October, two inmates died within eight days of each other. One was a diabetic man whose glucose levels were spiking. The other was a woman who complained of trouble breathing and died...

Posted: 9 days ago

One inmate committed suicide in August. Two more followed on a single day in September. All three were believed to be in withdrawal from opioid addiction. In October, two inmates died within eight days of each other. One was a diabetic man whose glucose levels were spiking. The other was a woman who complained of trouble breathing and died...
Atlanta court violates poor defendants’ rights, civil rights groups say
 Two civil rights groups say Atlanta’s municipal court routinely violates the rights of poor offenders by sending them to jail for low-level offenses because they don’t have the money to pay bond. In a letter to Mayor Kasim Reed, the Civil Rights Corps and the Southern Center for Human Rights said the court’s practices...

Posted: 10 days ago

Two civil rights groups say Atlanta’s municipal court routinely violates the rights of poor offenders by sending them to jail for low-level offenses because they don’t have the money to pay bond. In a letter to Mayor Kasim Reed, the Civil Rights Corps and the Southern Center for Human Rights said the court’s practices...
Can’t pay for a lie detector test? For one man that could mean jail
 A North Georgia homeless man may go to prison for 18 months because he cannot come up with $250 to take a court-ordered polygraph test. Such a move would seem to violate a U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring it unconstitutional to jail someone for failing to pay a fee or fine. But the man’s attorney, McCracken Poston, said the state...

Posted: 14 days ago

A North Georgia homeless man may go to prison for 18 months because he cannot come up with $250 to take a court-ordered polygraph test. Such a move would seem to violate a U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring it unconstitutional to jail someone for failing to pay a fee or fine. But the man’s attorney, McCracken Poston, said the state...
Judge: Fulton DA again has access to phone system, though not as much
 A Fulton County judge has rescinded her order for the sheriff to restore prosecutors’unfettered access to the inmate phone system at the jail. But she made it clear she expects Sheriff Ted Jackson and District Attorney Paul Howard to settle their feud over it. Fulton Superior Court Chief Judge Gail Tusan wrote in her latest order, &ldquo...

Posted: 14 days ago

A Fulton County judge has rescinded her order for the sheriff to restore prosecutors’unfettered access to the inmate phone system at the jail. But she made it clear she expects Sheriff Ted Jackson and District Attorney Paul Howard to settle their feud over it. Fulton Superior Court Chief Judge Gail Tusan wrote in her latest order, &ldquo...
Man accused in interstate collapse scolded for alcohol use
 The man charged with setting the fire that led to the collapse of a portion of I-85 in Atlanta was reprimanded on Monday after testing positive for alcohol. Basil Eleby, who is in a pre-trial drug treatment program as a condition of his bond, also tested positive for cocaine on Sept. 6. On Monday, he was placed briefly in handcuffs and...

Posted: 17 days ago

The man charged with setting the fire that led to the collapse of a portion of I-85 in Atlanta was reprimanded on Monday after testing positive for alcohol. Basil Eleby, who is in a pre-trial drug treatment program as a condition of his bond, also tested positive for cocaine on Sept. 6. On Monday, he was placed briefly in handcuffs and...
Man accused of I-85 bridge collapse reprimanded for alcohol use
 The man charged with setting the fire that led to the collapse of a portion of I-85 in Atlanta was reprimanded on Monday after testing positive for alcohol. Basil Eleby, who is in a pre-trial drug treatment program as a condition of his bond, also tested positive for cocaine on Sept. 6. On Wednesday, he was placed briefly in handcuffs and...

Posted: 17 days ago

The man charged with setting the fire that led to the collapse of a portion of I-85 in Atlanta was reprimanded on Monday after testing positive for alcohol. Basil Eleby, who is in a pre-trial drug treatment program as a condition of his bond, also tested positive for cocaine on Sept. 6. On Wednesday, he was placed briefly in handcuffs and...
Archive: With Devier dead, Stoner’s uncle says ‘we can begin healing’
 Jackson — Vince Stewart looked tired and sad, his eyes reddened, minutes after his niece’s killer was executed Wednesday.  “Today just brings to a close part of our family’s hurt and pain. We can begin healing,” Stewart said shortly after Darrell Gene Devier was put to death.  Devier, 39, was declared...

Posted: 21 days ago

Jackson — Vince Stewart looked tired and sad, his eyes reddened, minutes after his niece’s killer was executed Wednesday.  “Today just brings to a close part of our family’s hurt and pain. We can begin healing,” Stewart said shortly after Darrell Gene Devier was put to death.  Devier, 39, was declared...