Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday ordered an end to a practice that allowed sheriffs to keep for themselves excess funds allocated for prisoners’ meals. However, the Depression-era law used to justify the practice is still on the books. In recent years, sheriffs across Alabama relied on the legal loophole to pocket leftover funds after they had paid for inmates’ meals. For instance, Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin came under fire for personally receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars by cutting jail meal expenses, and subsequently purchasing a $740,000 beach home.
Governor Ivey’s move will shift excess funds to a county general fund or other account established for official use. To clarify that sheriffs cannot legally keep extra jail meal funds, Ivey is also advocating for a legislative fix: “I urge the Legislature to follow my lead and codify this policy into law during the next regular session.”
What do you think? Should Alabama lawmakers pass legislation to stop sheriffs from pocketing funds meant to buy inmates’ meals?
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