Cutting the jail budget isn't so hard after all

Sheriff Greg Bartlett who was in charge of the Morgan County, Alabama jail found a creative way to cut the facility's budget: Stop feeding the inmates.

The jail had a budget of $1.75 a day to feed each prisoner, but the sheriff decided cost-cutting measures were in order. He decided to feed them even less than what that budget provided, and he kept the savings for himself. It is estimated that he pocketed $212,000 over the last three years this way. An Alabama law apparently allows the sheriff to keep the savings from the food budget, but obviously it's ridiculous for the sheriff to purposely underfeed the inmates in order to line his own pockets.

And while I don't think jail inmates deserve to live in the lap of luxury and be entertained at taxpayer expense, I'm all in favor of actually feeding them. The prisoners have apparently lost a lot of weight, and they're saying that they were constantly hungry.

Contrast this with the story of the Montague County, Texas jail, where the sheriff and deputies were letting inmates run things themselves. They could lock their own cells from the inside, had disabled security measures like surveillance cameras, and appear to have had access to contraband.