Sunday, April 16, 2017

Alabama sheriffs can keep prison meal money not spent on meals

Alabama law allows sheriffs who oversee county jails to keep unspent food funds. In Morgan County, AL the sheriff receives $1.75 per day from the state for each Alabama inmate housed in the jail, according to The county also receives about $3 per meal for each federal inmate. The jail, which recently underwent a 450-bed expansion, now has the capacity to house more than 900 inmates.
Morgan County Sheriff's Office has been excluded from keeping excess meal money because of claims the prior sheriff underfed the inmates in his care.
The current sheriff Ana Franklin is embroiled in a legal battle with the Southern Center for Human Rights, and is scheduled for a hearing.
At that hearing, the sheriff's attorneys are expected to argue that a years-old consent decree in a lawsuit against the county does not apply to Franklin and she shouldn't be held in contempt. The decree says the Morgan County Sheriff must spend all food funds on inmate meals.
The decree was issued in 2009 after Franklin's predecessor was jailed for contempt. Former Sheriff Greg Bartlett was dubbed "Sheriff Corndog" because he profited more than $200,000 while inmates ate corndogs twice a day for weeks. The consent decree stemmed from a 2001 lawsuit against the county and then-Sheriff Steve Crabbe by inmates decrying conditions inside the jail.
The Center is arguing Franklin should not be allowed to keep any of the food funds and has included in court documents statements from inmates who describe inadequate food portions and unappetizing or hazardous servings. Inmates reported finding rocks, a nail and mold in food served at the jail.
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