|A food tray from the Etowah County (AL) Jail|
We invite you to check out the photo above of a food tray from the jail in Etowah County, Alabama. I spent five months -- from Oct. 23, 2013 to March 26, 2014 -- in the Shelby County (AL) Jail, and the tray of food above looks a lot like what we tended to have there.
Since my release, we've seen widespread reports of Alabama sheriffs taking funds intended for inmate food and using them for personal expenses and projects -- such as beach houses, in the case of former Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin, who lost his re-election bid and stepped down last month.
Exposure to Alabama jail food can be dangerous -- both due to its sparse quantity and its dreadful quality. I have reason to worry about the impact it has had on my own health.
As for Todd Entrekin -- the poster boy for Alabama sheriff corruption -- he is not the only one to essentially starve inmates, so that his personal bottom line would benefit. Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson recently sued outgoing Sheriff Ana Franklin, alleging she used inmate-food funds to pay her legal expenses from battling corruption charges.
That's not the only food-related scam involving Alabama sheriffs. I have little doubt a normal-sized adult could starve in an Alabama jail; I lost 15-25 pounds in five months -- and not being a picky eater, I usually cleaned my plate, what little was on it. As you can see from the photo above, there wasn't much on it much of the time.
Also, you can check out my mugshot (below, left) from the night I entered the Shelby County Jail and another (bottom) after I spent about a week at the Jefferson County Jail, which was near the end of my overall five-month incarceration. You can see that the fullness in my face is pretty much gone, and my shoulders look shrunken. Do people suffer in jail? Can this kind of weight loss under the extreme stress of false criminal charges affect a person's health down the road?I think the answer is obvious, and something close to starvation is not out of the question.
In order to survive, many inmates while I was in jail would have family put money in an account for the "store" or "commissary" and use that for snacks. The Morgan County Whistleblower blog has reported on this double-dipping scam, and we borrowed from their commentary in a recent Legal Schnauzer post:
. . . as you walk into the doors of the jail you immediately have access to two machines, the first is so you can put money into their account so they can buy items from the jail including food. This seems like a racket to me; first, you don’t feed them adequately and then sell them overpriced food all the while getting rich off leftover jail food money. Next to the first money machine is another money machine to put money into an account so they can use the phones.
We will not address the jail-phone scam for now. But there is an element to the jail-food scam that you likely would only know if you have been in an Alabama jail -- as I have. And it goes beyond quantity of food and isn't even seen on a tray.
|Roger Shuler Mugshot No. 1|
Up until the night I was "arrested for blogging," I had been fortunate to enjoy pretty good health -- and so had my wife, Carol. But I'm not so sure that is still the case. Having been exposed to jail food for five months -- not to mention a wrongful foreclosure in Alabama, an unlawful eviction in Missouri (plus the accompanying financial stress), and the emotional strain of watching Missouri cops beat Carol and break her arm, then bring bogus "assault" charges against her, the victim of an assault -- I suspect one or two of my key health numbers are outside the normal range now. I know Carol has at least one key number that no longer is within normal.
Having someone cheated out of his job and health insurance, along with his freedom and the roof over his head, can come with health consequences for the victim and his spouse. That's one of many reasons why it is a stupid thing to do.
If we wind up with a negative health event, or dealing with a chronic, life-altering illness -- all because Alabama political thugs did not like the content of my blog -- someone is going to have hell to pay. There will be major legal liability, and we intend to make sure that dealing with that is going to be painful.
(Note: Legal Schnauzer needs your help. Loyal readers have sustained this blog for years, and support is urgently needed now that my wife, Carol, is recovering from a fainting spell, which led to a recent broken arm. The healing process is going well for Carol, but statements from her doctors indicate this likely was fallout from political thugs cheating both of us out of our jobs [and health insurance] in Birmingham -- and the stress of dealing with financial wreckage that comes from being targeted for right-wing attacks. If you are able to help along our journalism journey, please click on the yellow donate button in the upper right corner of the blog, under the "Support the Schnauzer" headline. We are deeply grateful for your support through the years.)
|Roger Shuler Mugshot No. 2|