I’ll start off by saying that at least this is not Texas, thank goodness. In Etowah County, Alabama it is the responsibility of the Sheriff to pay for the meals of any inmates in the jail. The county commissioners pay into a fund, controlled by the Sheriff, to pay for those meals. The Sheriff then buys the food. Any money left over in the fund is kept by the Sheriff. This is actually allowed by law in Alabama. A lot of other counties have gone to the county commissioners contracting for the purchase of food for inmates but not Etowah County.
This ridiculous system encourages corruption and abuse such as in the case of two sheriffs splitting the cost ($1000) of a truck full of corndogs and feeding inmates corndogs for two meals a day for weeks. The less the sheriffs spend the more they get to keep for themselves. The money they get to keep can really add up when a sheriff who couldn’t care less about the well-being of the inmates gets elected.
The most current outrage is over Sheriff Todd Entrekin. Inmates in Entrekin’s jail got meat once a month. The rest of the time they got beans and vegetables. Sheriff Entrekin, who has a salary of $93,178.80, owns $1.7 million in real estate. His latest purchase was a $740,000 beach vacation home with an inground pool. Entrekin says don’t blame him, blame the system which shows his lack of ethics and sense of responsibility. Nothing was stopping him from feeding the inmates appropriately except his own greed.
On a tiny bright note Entrekin lost his re-election bid but that just means another sheriff will take his place. It doesn’t fix their broken system. As of yet we don’t know how the new sheriff will handle the food account but it shouldn’t matter who the sheriff is. The commissioners need to take over the contracting for food services so no one can use the law to enrich themselves at the expense of people who aren’t in a position to be able to help themselves.
States need to stop allowing inmates to be treated as if they are subhuman.