A judge sided with the Southern Center for Human Rights in their suit against an Alabama jail after they were able to demonstrate that prisoners had been severely malnourished there. The Sheriff, Greg Bartlett, had been tasked with feeding the inmates on an allowance of $1.75 per day. But, in addition to that, an Alabama law dated to the early 20th century allowed the Sheriff to pocket anything left over after he had fed the inmates.
Bartlett had managed to shave off $212,000 from the allowance over the last three years. Considering the jail houses "around 300 inmates," and doing some rough math, that means the jail had been allotted about $574,000 dollars for food over the last three years. That means Bartlett pocketed 36% of the food allowance for himself, and managed to feed the inmates on $1.10 per day.
A dollar and ten cents per day translated to a few spoonfuls of grits for breakfast with part of an egg, and "undercooked, bloody chicken parts" for dinner.
"Yeah, you stay hungry," Mr. Draper [an inmate] said. "Hunger is something you live with."
What's worse is the profoundly ignorant and disturbingly callous attitude expressed by the head of the Alabama Sheriffs Association:
"You’re never going to satisfy any incarcerated individual," grumbled the head of the Alabama Sheriffs Association, Bobby Timmons. Besides, Mr. Timmons said, "an inmate is not in jail for singing too loud in choir on Sunday."
It's not about satisfying the outlandish or opulent desires of some unreasonable serial killers. It's about feeding human beings enough to sustain their existence. And, as we know all too well, sometimes people are in jail for no good reason at all.
We applaud this victory for human rights in general and the treatment of prisoners specifically.