Magazine article Corrections Forum

Human Rights Abuses Cited at Alabama County Jail

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Human Rights Abuses Cited at Alabama County Jail

Article excerpt

The Etowah County Detention Center in Birmingham, Alabama, has been investigated for dire conditions and Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin has come under scrutiny for the way he manages the jail following an AL.com report last week that revealed that he personally pocketed more than $750,000 in public funds allocated to feed its prisoners.

A litany of current and former inmates, civil rights advocates and lawyers have repeatedly alleged over the past five years that the food served in the jail is subpar, portions are inadequate and the conditions in the facility are inhumane.

Even an inspection report drafted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Detention Oversight following a three-day tour of the facility in December 2016 identified deficiencies in a range of areas including food service, health care and environmental health and safety.

As of 2016, an average of about 300 ICE detainees were incarcerated in the facility at any given time under a federal contract that allows ICE to house detainees there in exchange for a per diem of $45 per inmate per day.

In November 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) published a study called "Shadow Prisons: Immigrant Detention in the South" that includes insights gleaned from conversations with 67 immigrant inmates in the Etowah County Detention Center. "This investigation found evidence of significant problems with the quality and quantity of food served to detainees," the report states. …

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