Today the Montgomery Advertiser is reporting that Judge Clemon has arrested Sheriff Greg Bartlett over jail food.
DECATUR, Ala. (AP) -- A federal judge ordered an Alabama sheriff locked up in his own jail Wednesday after holding him in contempt for failing to adequately feed inmates while profiting from the skimpy meals.
U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon had court security arrest Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett after dramatic testimony from skinny prisoners about paper-thin bologna and cold grits. The hearing offered a rare look into Alabama's unusual practice of letting sheriffs pocket money left over from feeding inmates.
The sheriff, who showed no emotion when his arrest was ordered, had testified that he legally kept as personal income about $212,000 over three years with surplus meal money but denied that inmates were improperly fed.
Clemon, however, said the sheriff would be jailed until he comes up with a plan to provide the 300 jail inmates with nutrionally adequate meals, as required by a 2001 court order.
This is absolutely extraordinary! A judge locking up a Sheriff. I like this UW Clemon.
At the hearing, 10 prisoners told Clemon meals are so small that they're forced to buy snacks from a for-profit store the jailers operate. Most of the inmates appeared thin, with baggy jail coveralls hanging off their frames.
Some testified they spent hundreds of dollars a month at the store, which Bartlett said generates profits used for training and equipment.
Inmates told of getting half an egg, a spoonful of oatmeal and one piece of toast most days at their 3 a.m. daily breakfast. Lunch is usually a handful of chips and two sandwiches with barely enough peanut butter to taste.
"It looks like it was sprayed on with an aerosol can," testified Demetrius Hines, adding he's lost at least 35 pounds in five months since his arrest on drug charges.
Most prisoners said they supplement the meals by spending $20 a week or more on chips, oatmeal pies and other junk food at the jailhouse store.
Bartlett said he made about $95,000 last year feeding inmates after also receiving money from the county and the U.S. government for housing federal prisoners. Despite rising food costs, Bartlett said he made a $62,000 profit in 2007 and $55,000 in 2006.
Bartlett said he uses donations and special deals to make money. As an example, Bartlett said he and a neighboring sheriff recently split the $1,000 cost for an 18-wheeler full of corn dogs.
Prisoners testified they ate corn dogs twice a day for weeks.
I must admit I found the 'aerosol peanut butter' crack hysterically funny!
Allowing the Sheriff to directly profit from the kitchen of the jail is practiced in 55 of Alabama's 67 counties. Hopefully this case will set precedent and this idiotic practice will soon come to an end or at the very least Sheriff's will feed inmates more adequate diets.