49 Alabama sheriffs being sued over jail food money

(WBRC) - The legal fight over money for feeding inmates continues. A lawsuit has been filed against 49 Alabama sheriffs over the practice.

Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin has defended the practice of using funds for food for inmates for personal use.

"The responsibility of feeding inmates and illegal immigr ants that are in this facility is my responsibility. At times, my wife and I have had to take out loans for the cost of these meals," Entrekin said.

The lawsuit claims 49 sheriffs are violating Alabama's Public Records Laws by failing to disclose how they have personally profited by taking funds to feed those inmates.

"We have had to take out bank loans for over $150,000. My wife and I have had to personally take out these loans and personally pay them back," Entrekin said.

Two groups, the Southern Center for Human Rights and the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, have sued seeking how the money is being used.

"Our ultimate goal is to make sure money earmarked for jail food is spent on jail food. There have been disturbing stories of sheriffs becoming rich off of money for jail food," Frank Knaak, Executive Director of Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, said.

In Cullman, Sheriff Matt Gentry supports changing the state law allowing sheriff's to keep these funds. Voters in Cullman County will decide the issue.

"The law needs to be changed, but they are coming after the wrong people. We can't change the law, only the legislature can do that," Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon said.

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