Fiscal Responsibility or Prisoner AbuseSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Fiscal Responsibility or Prisoner Abuse

18 May 2008 at 3:30:39 PM

In 1927, the state of Alabama set the rate of $1.75 per diem as the amount that each county sheriff would receive to feed each of his prisoners.  The figure was thought to be enough to adequately feed an adult of that day and a little extra that the sheriff could pocket if he was able to provide three squares for each inmate for less. 

Today the rate is still $1.75 which has some prisoner advocates questioning whether the fee is enough provide adequate nutrition, and if the system offers a financial reward to those who would skimp on food in order to profit personally.

Accounting procedures that allow each county sheriff to deposit the state's allowance into his personal accounts  circumvents state auditing procedures and makes it difficult to discern which, if any, of the lawmen are abusing the system. 

Read the entire story here.

The head of the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, Ron Jones, said state auditors cannot determine how much some sheriffs are making off the system because the lawmen put the money in personal accounts.

In Morgan County, a state audit found that Sheriff Greg Bartlett spent $163,991 (€105,814) feeding inmates and personally received an additional $103,947 (€67,071) for two years ending in May 2005. But Jones said there was no way for auditors to determine how much of the money that went to the sheriff was profit, because sheriffs may be buying food out of their own pockets. Bartlett did not return calls for comment.

When Etowah County Sheriff James Hayes died in October, thousands of dollars in jail food money went to his estate because it was kept in his personal accounts.

His successor, Todd Entrekin, said he and his wife took out a personal loan for $150,000 the day he took office to purchase jail food until his first state payment came through.

"It's the most money I've ever borrowed in my life, even more than for my house," Entrekin said.

Despite some complaints that the food is often comprised of day-old bread, less than fresh vegetables, and reconsituted powdered products, not all inmates find the food inedible. 

Inmate William Howell said state prisons offer more food than Blakely's jail but it isn't nearly as good.

"It's not like they go down to the bread store and catch it coming out of the oven, but it's good," Howell said. "We've got it good here."

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1 - salon   19 May 2008 @ 8:52:34 AM 

Geez. Where's the accountability? As mentioned, these *lawmen* put the money into their private accounts and there's no law in that state to say otherwise?

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