Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bi-partisan lawmakers to tackle law that allows sheriffs to starve inmates

Apparently legislators are reading this blog or the comments on the news forums around the state because this morning the Huntsville Times is reporting that , four North Alabama legislators want to end the practice of allowing Sheriff's to pocket left over food money. They are Arthur Orr, Randy Hinshaw (who pointed out that not everyone in jail is guilty and many haven't even been tried), Ronald Grantland (who actually pointed out that prison IS the punishment...not starvation) and Mike Ball a former State Trooper. Two Republicans and two Democrats....Hmmm do I smell bi-partisan support?

The HTIMES is also reporting that the Sheriff is crying us a river. Says he is a scapegoat for changing the law. Money quote...

It's a sad day when a sheriff can be discredited by a few inmates who have reason to lie about their food," Bartlett said. "If I have left over money, what should I do? Go out and buy the inmates steaks?"

Waaa Waaa Waaa everybody's being mean to me. What a wuss.

Being a bad steward of the public trust and making your fellow Alabamians look like knuckle dragging cave dwellers is why people are angry at you Sheriff Bartlett. Starvation which leads to health problems which costs the citizens of the county money and it is blatantly in violation of the Constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

While no one thinks inmates should get a seven course meal three times a day what people don’t seem to realize that bad nutrition leads to poor health which leads to large health care expense incurred from those in prison/jail. Guess who pays for those health care expenses and expensive lawsuits like this one while the sheriff pockets the $212,000 for his own personal use? We, the taxpayers of Alabama, pay for it. In this case the citizens of Morgan Co. will pay for it since the county commission now has to pay the legal fees of the SCHR lawyers. Wonder how far the $212,000 Sheriff Bartlett pocketed would go towards resigning that debt?

Another thing..

When a judge sends someone to prison that, in and of itself IS the punishment. Removing them from society. All of the other things that happen like starvation, same sex sexual assault, deplorable conditions, the catching of a multitude of diseases those are all extra-judicially imposed and not intended to be part of the punishment.

Those who think those things are ok because someone is in prison are no better than the people who inhabit the jails to begin with and much much worse than some of them. Remember that some of them are awaiting trial and have been convicted of nothing.


Anonymous said...

I knew states such as Alabama were backward in many ways, but I never would have dreamt that they had legally codified embezzlement. Yeah, Sheriff Bartlett did something unethical, but that was by taking a practiced encouraged by law to an extreme. The state has effectively said, by passing such a law, "Here's the money for food, Sheriff (but why don't you just directly deposit part of that in your bank account). Wink. Wink."

The article rightly calls out Bartlett on his actions, but reporter ought to be scurrying around and digging up a little history on who proposed such an assenine law in the first place, and who voted for and against such a thing.

The whole concept of "left over" here is backwards and if they dig around to see who else has "left over" money, I'll bet you find lots of sheriff's with discretionary "income", they simply weren't as bold as Bartlett.

Blame your legislators, I say.

Anonymous said...

I am about to watch "Americna Chain Gang" a Netflix movie about Alabama ressurecting the chain gang in 1995. I heard about the jailing of that Sherrif up here in Mass. and had to smile.

George Bush seems to be drinking heavily again, and Obama's great plan is to raise the deficit by about $200,000 for each job they hope to create- then we have to pay that back!

The whole government system is a utter failure and, will do whatever it can to drag us down with them! This abuse of power shows no sign of ending until our creditors cut us off which will be soon.

Anonymous said...

What I was wondering about: The sheriff says that the jail kitchen was run as a business. That he reported the extra money as income on his personal taxes. He is not a charitable entity - did he report the "donations" of food (in-kind) at the market value as income, too? Seems to me the IRS could get involved with this as well. He said it was because of the "donations" that he was able to pocket so much money last year. And the previous FIVE years. Shouldn't he have to report that as income too?