Friday, January 09, 2009

Bartlett Blames Inmates for Skimpy Food Portions


DECATUR, Ala. -- Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett will speak with reporters this afternoon about his recent jailing over allegations that he scrimped on food for inmates and pocketed the money left over.

Federal Judge U.W. Clemon jailed Bartlett Wednesday on a contempt of court charge after inmates testified about skimpy meals and Bartlett admitted to legally keeping more than $200,000 over the past two years in leftover food money. A 1939 state law allows sheriffs to keep money left over from feeding prisoners.

Bartlett was released from federal custody Thursday after promising to provide healthier meals and use all money collected for jail food for that purpose only.

However, Bartlett issued a news release today, and scheduled interviews with local reporters, to refute testimony in federal court Wednesday by prisoners who claimed they were being starved.

He said he had received only 15 complaints about food after serving 328,000 meals in 2008.

"I know that the portion size issue came up, and it is possible for inmates serving in the kitchen to short another inmate they had a grudge with or just didn't like. I have been told by staff members and inmates that this may have occurred on some occasions," Bartlett said in the release. "Staff will now directly observe portion sizes of all meals."

What a man's man Sheriff Bartlett is....blaming the inmates because no one will believe them anyway, instead of taking personal responsibility for his actions, which have humiliated Alabama in the national media once again and have cost the taxpayers of Morgan Co. untold amounts of money due to the lawsuit. That's a great way to teach those under your supervision to accept responsibility for the things they have done wrong...blame them when you do wrong. What a total and complete pansy. I am sick of people like this making all of Alabama look like cavemen in the eyes of the rest of the world.

The sheriff and the entire county commission should be run out of town on a rail. The greed of the sheriff has now cost the taxpayers of Morgan Co. a lot of money. I wonder how far that $212,000 sheriff Bartlett pocketed would go towards paying the legal fees now owed by the commission not to mention the health care costs of the inmates suffering from poor nutrition?


Anonymous said...

Agreed. For a chief LEO to so blatently profit off of the suffering of others...criminals or unexcusible. In any other type of could expect this individual to be fired and charges pressed. I'm sure only limited inmates complained because they were afraid of being targeted or singled out. Jails are not supposed to be hotels, but not offering adequate nutrition would be considered cruel and unusual punishment in my book.

Anonymous said...

It's Alabama. What a$$ backwards state would have such a law; Answer: Alabama. You'd find hundred of other such laws on the books if you did a search on Alabama state law as well.

So now with inmates losing at most as reported up to 50lbs, one wonders what the cost of health care would be for inmates who drastically loose weight at an unhealthy rate which in turn would cost the taxpayer more to take care of sick inmates.

Anonymous said...

This has Cool Hand Luke written all over it. Just a movie staring Paul Newman, but as we can see this guy took it literally. He should get a night in the box!

Loretta Nall said...

Anon #2...I've been making that very point about poor nutrition leading to health problems which the taxpayers pick up the tab for here and on newspaper forums across the state. The cave people in my home state don't really seem to care all that much. I'd link you to some of the comments on newspaper forums around Alabama left by people who think the sheriff is cool, but I am too ashamed for anyone to read them.

Anonymous said...

What is sad is that most of the outrage is not over the underfeeding but due to the envy that he is getting $95 k

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Morgan County, this lawsuit has been ongoing since 2001, when Sheriff Bartlett was ordered to adequately feed the people incarcerated in his jail. He has been sheriff for 6 years and was just RE-ELECTED for another six. I've known individuals who have been jailed there (innocent until proven guilty?) and I've never heard of anyone getting TWO sandwiches for lunch. They were fed corndogs for every meal for 2 MONTHS. The "nutritionist" was there one day a month to approve the menus for the month, she did not supervise or help prepare the food. She did not oversee the meals, only approved a PAPER with imaginary mealplans. But the sheriff wants to say now that the prisoners get fruit, because they each got an apple for Christmas. He says he reported the money on his income taxes. This man didn't even spend 24 hours in a federal detention facility in Talledega, AL, (not his own jail as erroneously reported) - however, US Marshalls allowed him to stop by his office at the county jail for some kind of "personal" business. Now he has been in the media all day, trying to say that "they always had adequate nutrition," and HE ATE THERE HIMSELF AT TIMES? What a crock, something should be done on a state level to abolish this antiquated law. I have seen reported elsewhere that the federal government shouldn't have been involved - however, he receives $3 a day to feed federal prisoners being held there. Food is donated from charities and SCHOOLS (Alabama schools are now under proration, the state says they can't afford teachers' salaries! - but they can afford to give food away to a man who puts the money he is supposed to use to pay for food in his OWN pocket!) I am NOT ashamed to be from Alabama, we aren't all ignorant redneck hicks.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've been reading these article's about this Sheriff Bartlett. Just two questions... aren't people in law enforcement suppose to be in physical shape and, do you suppose this Sheriff's chin bone is in his first or second chin??

Anonymous said...

When I worked in a jail kitchen(in Florida) as a trustee the inmates did run the place and the term "Don't shake the spoon on 'em" was often used to make sure portions were adequate.
Everybody serving knew those meals were all that some people had to look forward to. I don't buy the blaming the inmates. In my experiences, which are vast, the inmates have much more compassion for thier fellow man than the guards who go home and eat all they please. Also the inmates who complained are very brave. Thier protests could have made thier lives harder in there and put them in danger. I can't see making something up against the people that control every aspect of your life and risk pissing them off unless things are really bad.

Loretta Nall said...

anon who worked in a Florida jail....that is an excellent point!