Blogger Comments: People are getting engaged in the outrage of Sheriff Franklin's taking of inmate food funds. Below is an example of an email that has gone out to our local legislators. Please feel free to use it as an example for your own email in regards to this cause. Sheriff Greg Bartlett went to jail for a lot lesser offense than the ones we believe Franklin has committed.
Please send similar e-mails to the following legislators: +++++++++++++++++ email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org@alhouse.gov email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Ladies and Gentlemen: Misuse of inmate food funds has been a problem in Morgan County, Alabama, for quite some time now. It's nothing new, but it has become increasingly more and more disturbing. Going back to at least Greg Bartlett, Morgan County Sheriffs have made a habit of pocketing money that was exclusively set aside to feed inmates of the county jail for their own, personal use. Greg Bartlett was the previous Sheriff of Morgan County, but now it seems that Ana Franklin is continuing that tradition. Back in June of 2015, she withdrew $160,000 out of the inmate food fund account, converted at least $150,000 of it into a cashiers check from Peoples Bank and invested it in a used car lot in Priceville, Alabama, that also wrote title loans. It looks, for all intents and purposes, like Franklin was literally using the inmate food fund account like it was her own, personal bank account. According to a motion filed by the Southern Center for Human Rights (out of Atlanta) Franklin removed $160,000 from the jail food account in 2015 despite a 2009 amended consent decree that money for feeding inmates “be used exclusively” for that purpose. Not only did she take the money, which she was not legally entitled to do, she also never paid it back. This issue has been an ongoing problem in Morgan County for multiple reasons, and raises multiple concerns. It seems as though both Sheriff Bartlett and Sheriff Franklin took it upon themselves to use the money that was set aside strictly to feed the inmates for their own purposes. Not only does this reek of irresponsibility, it also smacks or arrogance on their part, due to them apparently inferring that the laws in place to prevent such an eventuality did not apply to them personally. Before being sworn into office, Franklin even made a very specific point of asking for a judgment on this issue from Bill Shinn, former attorney for the county before retiring. Mr. Shinn handed down a ruling that categorically denied Franklin's request to use leftover inmate food fund money for her own, personal use (not just her, mind you, but whoever happened to be the Sheriff of Morgan County). The fact that Sheriffs (or law enforcement officials in general) in any county are responsible for feeding their own prisoners is, I would argue, a direct conflict of interest. If they are allowed, without any oversight of accountability, to feed the inmates whatever they like...and then pocket any funds that are leftover, there is no motivation at all to provide healthy, nutritious meals for prisoners. There's a reason why "bread and water" is such an old cliche'. There's also a reason why laws like this are on the books in the first place: to prevent things like this from happening. Please investigate this situation. Please help see to it that the issues currently present and/or involving the Morgan County Sheriff's Office and Jail are rectified as soon as possible. Being in jail should be punishment enough for these prisoners. They should not also have to be concerned with whether or not they are being afforded the courtesy of simply being fed properly.