The Alabama assembly could accompany an end to the arguable convenance of canton sheriffs pocketing bare accompaniment bastille aliment money aback it meets abutting year.
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State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said he affairs to sponsor a bill during the 2019 aldermanic affair to barrier the longstanding practice.
“I’m ready. I’m committed to filing it,” Orr said. “The accompaniment of Alabama can do better. This arrangement has far outlived its usefulness. It’s the 21st aeon and we charge to move advanced with a applied and able archetypal for agriculture prisoners in bounded jails.”
Robert Timmons, controlling administrator of the Alabama Sheriffs Association, said he supports the proposed law and that he believes “every sheriff should be 100 percent abaft it.”
The argument of the abstract bill has not yet been released, as Orr is still alive with attorneys and advocates to agree the language.
Frank Knaack, controlling administrator of the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, is allowance Orr ability the legislation. Knaack said the bill is aimed chiefly at ensuring that sheriffs can no best affirmation that a Depression-era law allows them to abridged “leftover” accompaniment funds allocated to augment inmates in the canton jails they oversee.
“Sheriffs accept basically adumbrated that there’s ambiguity in the law and that they can accumulate extra bastille aliment money, admitting what we anticipate is already acutely authentic law,” Knaack said. “We appetite the assembly to already and for all accomplish bright the actuality that money appropriate for bastille aliment is spent on aliment and that it’s not the claimed acreage of sheriffs.”
Orr said the legislation, as it is currently written, would additionally accession the $1.75 circadian amount the accompaniment currently pays to augment inmates to $2 per day, which would again access by 1.5 percent anniversary year to annual for inflation. He estimated the antecedent 25-cent access to the circadian amount would add $1.2 actor to the about $8.9 actor per year the accompaniment currently pays to augment inmates it houses in canton jails.
Orr said his bill would actualize a capped “cost beat fund” that would acquiesce sheriffs to address for added accompaniment money if affairs – for example, accepting to alter big-ticket accessories – account them to absorb added bastille aliment money than they accept in a accustomed year.
He said he hopes that the legislation will go a footfall added and actualize a framework for demography the albatross for agriculture inmates abroad from sheriffs, but that it is not bright whether the final adaptation will accommodate such provisions.
“The best band-aid for all concerned, as far as I accede it, is that we accept a statewide bill area sheriffs’ salaries will be adapted at the bounded akin but they would not be alone accountable for agriculture the inmates,” Orr said. “[County] commissioners don’t appetite the albatross either. So we are aggravating to cilia the aggravate with this bill and I anticipate we accept a appropriate allotment of legislation to book and assignment through the aldermanic action this advancing session.”
Alabama sheriffs profiting from their inmate-feeding operations has become a hot-button affair in contempo years.
The altercation became a civic adventure afterwards a March address by AL.com appear that Etowah Canton Sheriff Todd Entrekin alone pocketed added than $750,000 account of accessible bastille aliment funds amid 2015 and 2017 and bought a bank abode in Orange Bank for $740,000 aftermost year.
Another high-profile adventure has additionally apprenticed accessible abuse over the convenance of sheriffs befitting bastille aliment funds. In 2015, Morgan Canton Sheriff Ana Franklin alone took $160,000 account of the money, again proceeded to accommodation $150,000 to a car dealership that declared defalcation the afterward year.
In August, Gov. Kay Ivey took a footfall aimed at endlessly sheriffs from befitting accompaniment bastille aliment funds by acute them to assurance affidavits advertence that they booty an “oath” alone to absorb the money on “food for prisoners in the canton jail.”
Knaack alleged the move a “a huge footfall forward,” but said he and Orr are anxious that “it doesn’t assuredly fix the issue,” as it could be formed aback beneath a approaching governor.
Orr said he believes his bill will accept advanced abutment in the legislature, area antecedent efforts to ameliorate the bastille aliment arrangement accept not been successful.
Sen. Judiciary Committee Chairman Cam Ward said he supports legislation to end the convenance of sheriffs pocketing bare bastille aliment funds.
“I’m absolutely admiring of reforming that system. I anticipate the drive is there, in ablaze of what we saw in Etowah and Morgan counties,” the Alabaster Republican said.
“It’s an anachronous action that needs to be fixed. We shouldn’t do it that way anymore, we apperceive that.”
Timmons said he urges accompaniment legislators to vote for Orr’s proposed legislation and that he affairs to do aggregate he can to ensure it gets passed.
“It’s aloof an aged law. Putting aliment allowance money in your abridged is aloof not acceptable business,” he said. “I’m activity to advance that every sheriff abutment the bill.”
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