Follow us: Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Google+ Follow us on Linkedin Follow us on Tumblr Subscribe to our RSS or Atom feed
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


Our Writers

  • Adam Peck
  • Alan Gordon
  • Alex Kearns
  • Alex Seitz-Wald
  • Alice Murray
  • Allison Korn
  • Alyssa Cagle
  • Amanda Marcotte
  • Amanda Peterson Beadle
  • Andrea Grimes
  • Andrea Lee Meyer
  • Andrew Bowen
  • Andy Brack
  • Andy Kopsa
  • Andy Miller
  • Andy Schmookler
  • Ann Marie Pace
  • Ann Woolner & Leonard Ray Teel
  • Anna Dolianitis
  • Anna Forbes and Kate Ryan
  • Annelise Thim
  • Anoni Muss
  • April Adams
  • April Moore
  • Ariel Harris
  • Armando
  • Arthur Blaustein
  • Austen Risolvato
  • Austin McMurria
  • Barry Hollander
  • Bert Roughton III
  • Beth Ostlund
  • Betsey Dahlberg
  • Bill Caton
  • Bill Hamm
  • Bill Mankin
  • Bill Montgomery
  • Bill Moyers & Michael Winship
  • Bill Phillips
  • Bill Semple
  • Bill Tush
  • Billy Howard
  • Bob Bohanan
  • Bob Pritchard
  • Booth Malone
  • Bootsie Lucas
  • Boyd Lewis
  • Brad Clayton
  • Braden Goyette For ProPublica
  • Brandon Collins
  • Brett Martin
  • Brian Randall
  • Brianna Peterson
  • Bruce Dixon
  • Bruce E. Levine
  • Burton Cox
  • Candice Dyer
  • Carl Kline
  • Carol Carter
  • Carson M. Lamb
  • Casey Hayden
  • Cathleen Hulbert
  • Center for American Progress
  • Chantille Cook
  • Charles Finn
  • Charles O. Hendrix Jr.
  • Charles Seabrook
  • Charles Walston
  • Chelsea Toledo
  • Chelsey Willis
  • Chris Bowers
  • Chris Kromm
  • Chris Wohlwend
  • Christopher Burdette
  • Chrys B. Graham
  • Chuck Collins
  • Cliff Green
  • Cody Maxwell
  • Collin Kelley
  • Craig Miller
  • Crissinda Ponder
  • Dallas Lee
  • Dan Kennedy
  • Daniel Flynn
  • Daniel K. Williams
  • Daniel Palmer
  • Danny Fulks
  • Dante Atkins
  • Darby Britto
  • Dave Cooley
  • Dave Johnson
  • Dave Pruett
  • David Bradford
  • David Evans
  • David Harris-Gershon
  • David Jenks
  • David Kyler
  • David Parker
  • David Roberts
  • David Rotenstein
  • David Swanson
  • Dean Baker
  • Deb Barshafsky
  • Debbie Houston
  • Deborah Chasteen
  • Denise Oliver Velez
  • Dennis McCarthy
  • Desiree Evans
  • Dian Cai
  • Diana
  • Diane Rooks
  • Dina Rasor
  • Dindy Yokel
  • Doc
  • Don Lively
  • Don O'Briant
  • Donnie Register
  • Door Guy
  • Doug Couch
  • Doug Cumming
  • Dr. Brian Moench
  • Dr. Dorothy Ann Boyd-Bragg
  • Dr. Nick De Bonis
  • Dr. Ravi Batra
  • E. David Ferriman
  • Earl Fisher
  • Eden Landow
  • Eileen Dight
  • Eleanor Ringel Cater
  • Elizabeth Shugg
  • Ellen Brown
  • Elliott Brack
  • Erin Kotecki Vest
  • Fatima Najiy
  • FishOutofWater
  • Francisco Silva
  • Frank Povah
  • Fred Brown
  • Frederick Palmer
  • Gadi Dechter, Michael Ettlinger
  • Gail Kiracofe
  • Gaius
  • Georgia Logothetis
  • Gib Ennis
  • Gina Williams
  • Gita M. Smith
  • Glenn Carroll
  • Glenn Overman
  • Gordon Anderson
  • Gregory C. Dixon
  • Gryphon Corpus
  • Hamp Skelton
  • Harriet Barr
  • Heather Boushey
  • Henry Dreyer
  • Hollis B. Ball III
  • Hugh
  • Hyde Post
  • Ian Kim
  • Ian Millhiser
  • Isabel Owen
  • Ivy Brashear
  • J.A. Myerson
  • Jack deJarnette
  • Jack Wilkinson
  • Jacklyn C. Citero
  • Jake Olzen
  • James Hataway
  • James Marc Leas
  • James N. Maples
  • Janet Ward
  • Jasmine Burnett
  • Jason Palmer
  • Jason Parker
  • Jay Thompson
  • Jaz Brisack
  • Jeff Cochran
  • Jeff Davis
  • Jeff Rayno
  • Jeff Spross
  • Jeffry Scott
  • Jennifer Hill
  • Jesse Harwell
  • Jessica Luton
  • Jim Allen
  • Jim Bentley and Jeff Nesmith
  • Jim Clark
  • Jim Cobb
  • Jim Fitzgerald
  • Jim Newell
  • Jim Stovall
  • Jim Walls
  • Jim Warren
  • Jimmy Booth
  • Jing Luo
  • Jingle Davis
  • JL Strickland
  • Joan Donovan
  • Jodi Jacobson
  • Jody Wegmueller
  • Joe Earle
  • Joe Shifalo
  • Joel Groover
  • Joey Ledford
  • John A. Tures
  • John Dembowski
  • John Hickman
  • John Hickman with Sarah Bartlett
  • John Huie
  • John M. Williams
  • John Manasso
  • John Sugg
  • John Tabellione
  • John Yow
  • Jon Sinton
  • Jonathan Grant
  • Jonathan Odell
  • Joni Hunnicutt
  • Jonna Pattillo
  • Joseph B. Atkins
  • Joseph Gatins
  • Josh Dorner
  • Josh Sewell
  • Joy Moses
  • Judith Stough
  • Judy McCarthy
  • Juli Ward
  • Julian Bond
  • Julian Riggs Smith
  • Julianne Wyrick
  • Julie Ajinkya
  • Julie Puckett Fodera
  • Just Plain Will
  • Kaili Joy Gray
  • Kate Greer
  • Kate McNally
  • Katherine A. Edmonds
  • Kathleen Brewin Lewis
  • Kathleen Harbin
  • Kathleen R. Gegan
  • Kathryn Hoffman
  • KC Wildmoon
  • Keith Graham
  • Ken Edelstein
  • Ken Haldin
  • Ken Hawkins
  • Ken Peacock
  • Kevin Austin
  • Kevin Duffy
  • Kip Burke
  • Kirk McAlpin
  • Kirsten Barr
  • Kos Moulitsas
  • Kristie Macrakis
  • Lacey Avery
  • Lamont Cranston
  • Laura Clawson
  • Laura Smith
  • Laurence Lewis
  • Lawrence S. Wittner
  • Lee Leslie
  • Lee Robin
  • Leon Galis
  • Leonce Gaiter
  • Les Eatwell
  • LikeTheDew
  • Linda Hunt Beckman
  • Linda Jordan Tucker
  • Lisa Byerley Gary
  • Lisa Kerr
  • Lois Beckett, Propublica
  • Lorraine Berry
  • Louie Crew Clay
  • Louis Mayeux
  • Lovell Jones, Ph.D.
  • Lucy Emerson Sullivan
  • Lucy Guest
  • Maggie Lee
  • Maisha White
  • Mandy Richburg Rivers
  • Margi Ness
  • Marian Wang, ProPublica
  • Marie Diamond
  • Mark Dohle
  • Mark Johnson
  • Mark Sumner
  • Martha W. Fagan
  • Mary Civille
  • Mary Elizabeth King
  • Mary Kay Andrews
  • Mary Lee
  • Mary Willis Cantrell
  • Matt Blakely
  • Matt Johnson
  • Matt Musick
  • Matt Renner
  • Matthew Wright
  • Maurice Carter
  • Meg Livergood Gerrish
  • Meghan Miller
  • Melanie Rochat
  • Melinda Ennis
  • Michael Bailey
  • Michael Beckel
  • Michael Castengera
  • Michael Ettlinger
  • Michael J. Solender
  • Michael Linden
  • Michael Lux
  • Michael W. Twitty
  • Mike ”Hunter” Lazzaro
  • Mike Copeland
  • Mike Cox
  • Mike Handley
  • Mike Lofgren
  • Mike Ludwig
  • Mike Williams
  • Mimi Skelton
  • Moni Basu
  • Monica Smith
  • Murray Browne
  • Myra Blackmon
  • Nancy Melton
  • Nancy Puckett
  • Nancy Robinson
  • Nancy Rogers
  • Neill Herring
  • Nelly McDaid
  • Nikki Gardner
  • Niles Reddick
  • Noel Holston
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • Overman & Senn
  • Pamela Sumners
  • Pat Garofalo
  • Pat LaMarche
  • Pat Norman
  • Patrick Andendall
  • Patrick L. Ledford
  • Patsy Dickey
  • Patti Ghezzi
  • Paul Buchheit
  • Paul Krupin
  • Paul Rutledge
  • Paul Thim
  • Pete & Jack
  • Peter Crawford
  • Peter Turnbull
  • Phil Gast
  • Phil Noble
  • Philip Graitcer
  • Phyllis Alesia Perry
  • Phyllis Gilbert
  • Piney Woods Pete
  • Polly
  • R S
  • R.L. Miller
  • Rafael Alvarez
  • Randy Conway
  • Randy Schiltz
  • Ray Bearfield
  • Raymond L. Atkins
  • Reagan Walker
  • Rebecca Sive
  • Ric Latarski
  • Richard Eisel
  • Righton C. Willis
  • Rob Chambers
  • Rob Coppock
  • Rob Douthit
  • Robert Dardenne
  • Robert E Hunt Jr
  • Robert Jensen
  • Robert Lamb
  • Robert M. Williams, Jr.
  • Robert Mashburn
  • Robert Weiner & Richard Mann
  • Robin Marty
  • Rodney Adams
  • Roger Gregory
  • Ron Feinberg
  • Ron Taylor
  • Rose Aguilar
  • Rose Weaver
  • Rosemary Griggs
  • Russ Wellen
  • Sam Morton
  • Sao Magnifico
  • Sara Amis
  • Sarah Ayres
  • Sarah Bufkin
  • Saralyn Chesnut
  • Scott Anna
  • Scott Borchert
  • Scott Keyes
  • Scott Wooledge
  • Sean Manion
  • Seth Cline
  • Shane Gilreath
  • Sharon M. Riley
  • Shay Dawkins
  • Sheffield Hale
  • Sheila Barnard Nungesser
  • Sigrid Sanders
  • SoniaTai
  • Sonya Collins
  • Soraya Chemaly
  • Spencer Lawton
  • Stephanie Taylor
  • Stephen Lacey
  • Stephen Wing
  • Steve King
  • Steve Krodman
  • Steve Valk
  • Stuart Liss
  • Sue Sturgis
  • Sujigu
  • Susan De Bonis
  • Susan Soper
  • Susan Wilson
  • Suz Korbel
  • Tammy Andrews
  • Tammy Ingram
  • Tanya Somanader
  • Ted Kooser
  • Terri Evans
  • The Barnacle Goose
  • Thomas A. Bledsoe
  • Tiger Liliuokalani
  • Tim Oliver
  • Timothy Freeman
  • Timothy Hurst
  • Tom Baxter
  • Tom Crawford
  • Tom Ferguson
  • Tom Millsop
  • Tom Poland
  • Tom Walker
  • Travis Waldron
  • Travis Waldron & Pat Garofalo
  • Trevor Stone Irvin
  • Tricia Collins
  • Troubadour
  • Valerie Evans
  • Viveca Novak
  • Waldron, Somanader & Garofalo
  • Walter Rhett
  • Wanda Argersinger
  • Wayne Countryman
  • Wayne Johnson
  • We The People
  • Will Cantrell
  • Will Nelson
  • William Cotter
  • William Hedgepeth
  • Yana Kunichoff
  • Yasmin Vafa
  • Zack Beauchamp
  • Zack Ford
  • Zaid Jilani
  • Zaina Budayr




  • Writer Login


    Like the Dew?

    We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.

    The Dixie Diet

    by | 11 | Nov 6, 2009

    Prison-cafeteria-JCR.jpgStand down, Jennie Craig, Weight Watchers and Dr. Atkins. There’s a new kid in town, The Dixie Diet, and we are proud to say it peels off pounds.

    Here’s how we do it. First, we put you in prison. Then we spend between $1.13 and $1.75 per day to feed you. Then a couple of years later, you are a nice emaciated specimen with gum disease and bone loss. Strangely, not all prisoners appreciate this chance to lose weight.

    Last week in Tennessee, a federal judge ordered a Robertson County Jail inmate moved to another detention facility after he and other inmates complained about inadequate food at the jail.

    U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell heard more than five days of testimony, during which inmates stepped on scales in the courtroom to document their weight. One fellow said he lost 100 pounds during 19 months in the small jail about 25 miles from Nashville. Another, confined at the jail since April awaiting a hearing, told the judge he had lost 16 pounds during his incarceration. He measured 6-foot-3 and weighed 149 pounds when he stepped on the scale. (You might note that this prisoner had not yet been convicted of a crime, and yet he had been placed on the Dixie Diet, so Campbell ruled that he should be moved “to ensure that he does not experience any further weight loss.”)

    In this particular Tennessee county jail, an outside vendor, ABL Inc., was spending between $1.13 and $1.24 per inmate meal. The menu consisted of bologna, peanut butter sandwiches, sloppy Joe sandwiches, turkey, noodles, bread, cabbage, cheese, grits, oatmeal, milk, Kool-Aid and, infrequently, green beans (but never all on the same day). The bread was often moldy, inmates said.

    Here in Alabama, there is mighty strong incentive for sheriffs to place county inmates on The Dixie Diet. You see, a 1930s law allows our sheriffs to decide how much of their annual budgets they will use to feed county prisoners, and how much they want to keep for themselves. That’s right: Our lawmen can POCKET THE REST.

    Sheriffs in 55 of Alabama’s 67 counties make profits operating their jail kitchens (there might be more, no one is sure). Good taxpayer money is theirs to use for, say, a nice new bass boat. (National corrections groups do not record any other states with a system like Alabama’s. At least not one that’s codified.)

    index_sheriffpic2The 2009 winner of the Best Dietary Sheriff Profiteer was Morgan County’s sheriff, Greg Bartlett, who, over the past two years has pocketed $212,000 in prison budget leftovers. Disgruntled hungry inmates at his lockup earlier this year brought a lawsuit against Bartlett with help from the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights. It came to light that meals in the Morgan County jail were so small that inmates were basically forced to buy snacks from a store the jailers operated. Prisoners testified before Federal District Judge U.W. Clemon in Birmingham that they spent hundreds of dollars a month on chips, oatmeal pies and candy bars at the jailhouse store just to keep from starving. (But we assure you, The Dixie Diet worked despite prisoners’ best efforts to obtain sugar, trans fats and sodium in junk food.)

    In one instance, Bartlett and a neighboring sheriff got a deal and split the $1,000 cost of an corndogs18-wheeler of corn dogs. Prisoners – many of them painfully thin – told Clemon that they ate nothing but two corndogs per day for months. According to one Associated Press report, the head of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association said that prisoner complaints are common around the state. “You’re never going to be able to satisfy them,” said Bobby Timmons.

    Judge Clemon took a dimmer view of the prison menu. He ordered Sheriff Bartlett (whose base salary is $64,000 a year) to be jailed until he came up with a plan to provide inmates with nutritionally adequate meals, as required by a 2001 court order. Bartlett spent one night in his own jail before signing a consent decree. Given that Alabama law allots a minimum of a buck-seventy-five per day per inmate, Bartlett probably didn’t have to think too hard about menu options.

    Clemon could not impose specific dietary details in the Morgan County consent decree because there are no pesky federal minimum caloric standards for state prison systems.

    Laws aside, have you tried to eat on $1.75 per day? What would you buy and prepare for under two bucks, day after day, without getting rickets and scurvy pretty quick?  If you wanted to really stretch to get nutrition, you could make a menu of a cup of brown rice, an egg and a half-can of sardines, on one day. On the next, an orange, a bowl of oatmeal, the other half-can of sardines and a small banana.

    Prisoners’ meals, testimony showed, consisted of a few spoons of grits, a piece of bread and part of an egg for breakfast; two white bread slices with a smear of peanut butter at lunch, and a small portion of undercooked bloody chicken for dinner.

    (Georgia prisoners, by the way, don’t get lunch on the weekends or Fridays, but officials say inmates get 2,800 calories for men and 2,300 for women. This fiscal year, Georgia slashed almost 10 percent from the Department of Corrections’ $1.1 billion budget.)

    The question you might be asking at this moment (work with me, please) is, when will the Alabama Legislature change the law so that sheriffs do not pocket money intended to feed prisoners? We have an answer for you: No time soon. You see, members of the Legislature need the sheriffs in their districts during campaign years. The sheriffs often provide the cars or drive the candidates around from small town to small town. The sheriff is the one who says, officially, that “State Sen. Forbush Spivey gets the law and order vote.”

    No one wants to piss off the sheriffs who are supplementing their salaries with the food budget. Ergo, no one’s going to pass a bleeding-heart liberal law against The Dixie Diet.

    For more information see:

    *Georgia Department of Corrections: http://www.dcor.state.ga.us

    *American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project: http://www.aclu.org/prison

    *National Institute of Corrections: http://www.nicic.org

    ###
    Gita M. Smith

    Gita M. Smith

    Gita M. Smith is a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer who covered Alabama -- yes, the whole state -- for the paper's national desk where she fell under  the dangerous influence of Keith Graham and Ron Taylor.  She writes flash fiction at 6S, Thinking 10 and fictionaut.

     

    Print Friendly

     

    • C Smith

      Gita my A.D.D. kicked in about half way through your article but to me “if you can’t do the time don’t do the crime” needs to be remembered here. Any thing that deters repete attendence to jail works for me. Now if these Wardens are pocketing food money they need to join the prison population.

    • Gita

      Okay, let me give you the Cliff’s Notes version:
      Sheriffs are not breaking any law when they pocket the money that’s supposed to feed prisoners. Alabama law lets them do that. Greg Bartlett kept $212,000 for himself since 2007 by starving prisoners. News Flash: unless you are on death row, you are not supposed to die in prison from malnutrition. Final point: bad policies don’t deter people from going back into prison. Jobs do.

    • C Smith

      MY! MY! MY! Aren’t we touchy. I made my statement as to any prison official skimming from a food allocation. He should have his own cell. As to prisoner’s, humane treatment should be enforced but they are not there because they tripped some one walking down the street. I have a son that has to work with child abuse and child pornography cases and some of the pictures I have seen I would not care if the guilty person starved to death in prison. If you think a job will keep these people out of jail I hope no one in your family is ever a victim!

    • Terri Evans

      Gita, thanks for bringing this despicable practice to light. It is so shameful that it makes me wish to cook up some ecoli-stew for Sheriff Bartlett.

    • Tracey

      The law allowing sheriffs to pocket unused food money seems vulnerable to constitutional attack on its own. Good piece, Gita.

    • Gita

      Hi Tracey, you’ve lived in Alabama so you know: There are so many other fish to fry that constitutional law will just have to take a number and get in line. Case precedents regarding food and humane treatment are a grey area because caloric/nutritional guidelines aren’t clearly codified.The Tennessee case of last week showed how, once a person is incarcerated, regardless of guilt or innocence, he or she gets the prison diet . You could be in lockup pending a trial, innocent but unable to post bail; you’d then go for a few months on the $1.13-a-day rations.

    • Jim Smith

      Great story, Gita -- commentary on social issues is fine, but this sort of original reporting is what the Dew needs to do more of. There but for grace and fortune and many of us might have to live on the dollar a day meal plan.

    • Gita

      Thank you. It’s not really original reporting since I borrowed from Associated Press sources and cannibalized my own blog to piece this together.

    • jingle

      This is a good story, Gita. And good for you for doing it. To those who think jailed folks get what they deserve, maybe they should consider this: anyone arrested (including suspects who later have charges against them dropped or are found not guilty at trial ) are also put on the Dixie Diet. Not everyone can afford to make bail. Apart from that, our Constitution forbids “cruel and unusual punishment,” even for those convicted of the worst crimes. Surely starving people is cruel and unusual.

    • B-Pfeff

      Let’s say only those convicted of child abuse got the Dixie Diet as part of their sentence. As despicable as these criminals are, this is a clear example of cruel and unusual punishment, and therefore is unconstitutional. To paraphrase the non-child abuser-loving Dick Armey, the U. S. Constitution should be treated as if it were the word of God. However, if we need a little help with the interpretation, maybe this could be the basis for a class action suit taken to the highest court possible--put potential strict constructionists like recent Supreme Court appointees to the test.
      Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Gita. I’m going to eat my apple now, with new appreciation.

    • C Smith

      B-Pfeff the one word you used here that will make a differance is “convicted”. Gita’s point that took some toung lashing from her for me to understand is the Alabama law allows Sheriffs to “keep” any moneys saved from prison cost of food, guilty or not. When you say “convicted ” the state will not have to feed child abusers long. Even the predators of our world will not tolarate these psycos.

  • Worthy of Comment



  • Please subscribe to our free Dewsletter

    To subscribe to our Dewsletter (it's free), just enter your email address and click Subscribe. You will be sent an email requiring you to confirm your email address (protects us both from spammers).

    A note on privacy: We respect your privacy and will never sell your information or pass them onto any third parties without your permission to do so. You may also unsubscribe from the mailing list at any time simply by using the link provided in our email communications (bottom of each email). For our complete privacy policy, click here.



  • Save Granny!
    TRUMP RYAN and McCONNELL
    are Cutting $800 Billion
    from Medicaid

     

  • A Practical Guide for Resisting
    the Trump Agenda
    BRAVE NEW FILMS

     

  • “The Elections Are Rigged”
    Arnold Schwarzenegger On
    Trump, Congress, Gerrymandering

     

     

  •  

  • Please Help Support the Dew

  • %d bloggers like this: