Renewed Alabama Food Fight Pits Sheriff vs. Hungry Inmates

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Morgan County, Ala., Sheriff Ana Franklin wants a federal judge to let her keep as personal money any unspent funds that she receives for feeding inmates, reports AL.com. Although Alabama sheriffs in general are allowed to keep leftover food fund money, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office has been excluded because of claims Franklin’s predecessor underfed the inmates in his care. Franklin, who is embroiled in a legal battle with the Southern Center for Human Rights, is scheduled for a hearing at the federal courthouse in Decatur on Friday. The sheriff’s attorneys are expected to argue that a 2009 consent decree in a lawsuit against the county does not apply to Franklin and she shouldn’t be held in contempt.

The decree says the Morgan County Sheriff must spend all food funds on inmate meals. It was issued after Franklin’s predecessor was jailed for contempt. Former Sheriff Greg Bartlett was dubbed “Sheriff Corndog” because he profited more than $200,000 while inmates ate corndogs twice a day for weeks. The consent decree stemmed from a 2001 lawsuit against the county by inmates decrying conditions inside the jail. The Southern Center is arguing Franklin should not be allowed to keep any of the food funds and has included in court documents statements from inmates who describe inadequate food portions and unappetizing or hazardous servings. Inmates reported finding rocks, a nail and mold in food served at the jail.

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