Sunday, January 11, 2009

Starvation on $1.10 per day.

It seems there's a sheriff in Alabama that's making money from providing frugal (very frugal) diets for jail residents.

When I first read about it my reaction was that the sheriff is a bad guy. That's pretty much my initial reaction to any cop – that he's a bad guy.

It seems the State of Alabama gives $1.75 per inmate per day to sheriffs to feed inmates and they allow the Sheriff to keep any money left over after the inmate meals are paid for.. That's a pretty good deal for the sheriff, not so good for the county prisoner under the care of the Sheriff.

The meals he provided were typically things like
... a few spoonfuls of grits, part of an egg and a piece of toast at breakfast, and bits of undercooked, bloody chicken at supper. … a typical inmate lunch here: “Two peanut butter sandwiches, with small amounts of peanut butter, chips, and flavored water.”

Doesn't sound very appetizing but does that sound like a starvation diet? It doesn't to me. As much as I'd like to think there's some slimy Sheriff in Alabama, the actual diets don't look all that terrible to me.

The idea of feeding inmates on $1.10 just seems on its face to be a starvation diet to most people. But, it's not.

Using 1989 price data, one recent (2001) study used a linear programming model to determine a nutritional diet that would feed an adult mail for $1.13 per day. If our Alabama Sheriff can get USDA surplus peanut butter and powdered eggs and can make bread from USDA surplus flour then he can certainly do a few cents better than the market price minimum cost diet.

Althouse thinks it was the judge who was abusive by sending the Sheriff to jail. She might be right.

just thinks the whole thing is amazing.

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