Sheriff Allegedly Served Food ‘Not Fit For Human Consumption’ To Inmates, Kept $750K Of Funds For Personal Use

Former inmates describe being fed spoiled food, and that some even attempted suicide in protest of the bad food.

Sheriff served spoiled food to inmates.
Brynn Anderson / AP Images

Former inmates describe being fed spoiled food, and that some even attempted suicide in protest of the bad food.

Sheriff Entrekin in Alabama received national attention when it was revealed that he’d bought a $740,000 beach house with money that he’d pocketed from inmate food funds. An Alabama law allows sheriffs to receive inmate food money directly into their personal account. The sheriffs are expected to buy the necessary food for inmates, but whatever is remaining is theirs to keep.

Many wondered exactly how Entrekin saved a whopping $750,000 over just three years. It turns out that the food that the inmates were eating was just as bad as people imagined: expired food, spoiled food, and even food marked with the words “not fit for human consumption.” Entrekin allegedly secured the food for free or at rock-bottom prices.

AL interviewed former inmates at Etowah County jail to learn more about the details, including inmates that had worked in the jail kitchen. One of the most horrifying discoveries that AL made is that inmates were fed mystery meat that arrived in rolls and labeled not fit for human consumption. The kitchen disregarded the warning label, however, and the meat was mixed into pasta, stews, or other meals. No one knows what type of meat it was because it was not labeled. Furthermore, inmates say they were fed spoiled, donated chicken. One inmate confirmed that he cooked spoiled chicken, whereas another helped load the boxes into the kitchen. Another inmate added that a round of food came from a train wreck, and all of the food inside the train was bought at auction.

“I helped load these boxes of chicken that was culled because of tumors and abscesses and deformities or it was past its time to be shipped.”

There are many consequences for serving inmates bad food. Some go hungry, whereas a lucky few are able to buy food from commissary if they have money in their accounts. But most of all, the horrible food has led to riots and lockdowns, even suicide attempts. One of the former inmates, Chris Bush, described a horrifying situation when another inmate threatened to kill himself with a sheet tied around his neck if the staff didn’t start feeding them better. It took 40 officers to talk him down from the top bunk in his cell, and he was removed, never to be seen again by the other inmates.

Entrekin insists the food that he fed the inmates was “in full compliance of the law,” and that he “utilize[s] a registered dietitian to ensure adequate meals are provided daily.” He also said that he’s passed all of the frequent audits. However, former inmates say that there’s always a notification of these audits a few days or a week in advance, and it gives Entrekin time to do a deep cleaning of the kitchen. The staff is told to throw away the spoiled food they would otherwise serve, including the food that’s not fit for human consumption.

Although the law technically allows Entrekin to pocket any extra food fund money, the deplorable conditions described by former inmates may trigger action or an investigation in the near future.