The way jail food money is handled in Marshall County could soon change.
Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims pushed for a food money amendment to be put on the ballot, and now voters will get to decide if the way jail food money is used will change in the upcoming primary election.
Early last year, Sims got with local legislators to get a new jail food money amendment on the March 3rd ballot. In April, soon after the local legislation was drafted, a new Alabama law was passed to stop sheriff’s from pocketing leftover food money.
With this bill, Sims hopes to keep the personal responsibility of feeding inmates away from the Marshall County sheriff.
“It makes it local and for Marshall County,” said Sims. “They could change the state law again, but once this amendment changes or is voted in by the people, it’ll never change, and the inmates will always be fed first priority, and the sheriff will never be responsible financially for having to feed the inmates, and the sheriff will never be able to profit from the inmate.”
If the amendment is voted in, all leftover jail food money would go into a discretionary fund for the sheriff’s office.
Sims said, “Once it comes in from the state, it just details and outlines how that money can be spent, so any money left over in excess will stay in Marshall County in the sheriff’s office.”
Sims says this amendment will keep tax dollars in the county.
“If that account builds up too much, and they pass another law saying okay, if you’ve got a certain amount of money built up and we want our money back, they pass it, we’ve got to give the money back and we don’t want to do that,” said Sims. “We want to keep the money here in Marshall County to benefit the people of Marshall County.”
Sims wants to use the excess money for training officers, buying inmate supplies, and starting re-entry programs at the jail.
Sims says the jail is overcrowded and that leftover food money could potentially help with expanding the jail in the future.
The amendment will read: “Relating to Marshall County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that, effective immediately upon ratification of this amendment, all allowances or amounts received by the sheriff for feeding prisoners would be deposited in a special account and used for feeding prisoners in the county jail and any excess in the fund would be authorized to be used for law enforcement purposes by the sheriff. (Proposed by Act 2019-232)”
View the Marshall County Primary Election Democratic Sample Ballot here.
View the Marshall County Primary Election Republican Sample Ballot here.
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