Here's a little reporting from AL.com about this fun story
Monroe County Sheriff Thomas Tate recently provided the Southern Center for Human Rights with copies of handwritten ledgers detailing exactly how much money his office received from federal state and municipal governments to feed inmates in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and what was done with those funds.
The documents show that the Monroe County Sheriff's Office received a total of $423,364.60 over that three-year period to pay for a total of 83,878 days worth of meals for inmates - a measure referred to as "inmate days" - in the county's jails. Of that money, $110,459.77 was "declared excess and paid to Sheriff Thomas Tate," according to the ledgers.
The amount of "excess" funds Tate received rose each year, despite the fact that the number of inmate days fell each year and the per diem amounts paid to his office - $1.80 per state inmate per day; $5 per municipal inmate per day; and $10 per federal inmate per day- did not change between 2014 and 2016. In 2014, he pocketed less than $29,000; in 2016, he personally received more than $44,000. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Monroe County was home to just 23,068 residents.
"I do it just like the law tells us to. That's about all I have to say about that," Tate said during a brief phone interview with AL.com Friday. "We feed all our inmates good and the excess goes to the sheriff. If you declare it excess, you take it and you pay taxes on it."
Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin says that he has advocated for the county commission to handle the funds used to feed inmates in his jail. But that has yet to happen, and in the meantime he says he keeps the funds that remain after his inmates have been fed.
"The law says it's a personal account and that's the way I've always done it and that's the way the law reads and that's the way I do business," he said in a phone interview Friday. "That's the way the law's written."