Advocacy groups sue 49 Alabama sheriffs for withholding public records of leftover inmate food money

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ALABAMA — Two advocacy groups have sued Alabama sheriffs who have allegedly denied public record requests about whether sheriffs have profited from jailhouse food programs.

Our news partners at AL.com report that the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights and the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice filed the lawsuit on Monday against 49 state sheriffs they said did not comply with a public records request.

Alabama law has allowed sheriffs to keep leftover food money. A federal judge in 2009 ordered one Alabama sheriff, nicknamed “Sheriff Corndog” jailed, because he made $200,000 over three years while inmates ate corndogs twice a day.

Alabama Appleseed executive director Frank Knaack said the public has a right to know whether sheriffs “are meeting the basic human needs of incarcerated people in their care, or are instead filling their personal coffers.”