Ivey: Sheriffs Can't Pocket Jail Food Funds

Jul 11, 2018

Meal served at Etowah County Jail in Gadsden, Ala.
Credit Reuters

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey says the state will no longer give jail food funds to "sheriffs personally" in the wake of criticism that some sheriffs pocketed vast sums by skimping on inmates' meals.

In a memo to the state comptroller yesterday, Ivey rescinded the state's 2008 policy of "paying prisoner food service allowances directly to sheriffs in their personal capacities." The directive says the money must now go to government accounts.

A Depression-era law gives sheriffs $1.75 a day to feed each prisoner and allowed sheriffs to retain leftovers. Critics have argued for decades that gives incentive to feed inmates poorly and pocket as much of the remainder as possible.

Ivey's legal office cites a 2011 attorney general's opinion that those funds can only be used for "feeding prisoners." The office says that trumped a 2008 opinion that set up the previous policy.