In the category “horrifying yet somehow unsurprising,” the NYT had this on Thursday:
Alabama has an unusual statute on the books that “allows the state’s sheriffs to keep for themselves whatever money is left over after they feed their prisoners. The money allotted by the state is little enough — $1.75 a day per prisoner — but the incentive to skimp is obvious.”
Indeed, and skimp he did. While “the prisoners in the Morgan County jail here were always hungry,” sheriff Greg Bartlett pocketed $212,000 over the last three years. A Redditter does the math:
If he profited $212,000 over three years, as the story claims, he profited about $194 a day. Morgan County has a bed capacity of 212. Meaning the Sheriff profited $0.90 per bed. Meaning the Sheriff was spending $0.85 per bed. That’s harsh.
‘Tis. The judge called the Alabama law “almost an invitation to criminality,” and sent the sherrif to jail – “until he indicated a willingness to comply.” Meaning just for one night, because as Sir Charles at Cogitamus put it: “In a startling display of the rehabilitative powers of incarceration, after only one night in jail Bartlett came up with the creative idea of not skimming any of the food money going forward, and the judge released him.”
As Charles concluded: “One is struck once again with the casual sadism that we seem to find appropriate in our criminal justice system.”