House could vote today to stop sheriffs from keeping inmate food money

House could vote today to stop sheriffs from keeping inmate food money

By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A bill to clarify that funds for feeding jail inmates must be spent on that purpose could be voted on today in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 228 would stop the decades-old ability of sheriffs to keep leftover food funds for their personal use. It also increase’s the state’s daily allowance for inmate’s food from $1.75 to $2.25, with a two percent increase each year.

Sen. Arthur Orr, R- Decatur, is sponsoring the bill which has already passed the Senate with no opposition.

Orr told Alabama Daily News that this issue was personal for him. He’s from Morgan County where a previous sheriff was nicknamed  “Sheriff Corndog” after keeping $200,000 over three years while inmates ate corndogs twice a day.

Orr said after other recent revelations about jail food money abuse, there was an urgency in the Legislature to change the law.

“We’ve gotten support from the sheriffs and the counties and just appreciate everyone working together to abolish this practice that probably worked well in the 1920s and 30s when it was first adopted but not today,” Orr said.

Last year it was reported that the  Etowah County Sheriff had kept so much money he was able to buy a $740,000 beach house.

Gov. Kay Ivey announced last year that sheriffs must sign an affidavit that says funds will only be spent on preparing, serving and ordering the food needed for the inmates.