Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Federal judge questions Alabama jail feeding system

From the Huntsville Times

DECATUR, Ala. -- A federal judge is questioning Alabama's practice of letting county sheriffs make a profit from feeding prisoners in their jails.

U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon has scheduled a hearing in Decatur for Wednesday in a lawsuit filed over conditions in the Morgan County Jail.

Clemon ordered the sheriff to bring documents showing how much money he is making off the system.

A state law dating to the Depression pays sheriffs $1.75 a day to feed prisoners and lets them keep any profit. Some sheriff actually make money off the practice despite the low payments.

Critics charge that the system can lead to abuse, but sheriffs defend it.

The judge wants to know how much Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett is personally profiting from the payments.

And it's about time. This is one of those things (like many many other things in the Alabama code) that makes absolutely no sense to me. The incentive for corruption is HUGE. Can you eat healthy on $1.75 a day? Bad nutrition just leads to serious health problems which the state taxpayers also have to pick up the tab for. It will be most interesting to see how much money Sheriff Bartlett is pocketing from this inhumane venture.

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