AL Sheriff Pockets $250,000 a Year from Inmate Food Funds

Sheriff Todd Entrekin of Etowah County, Al., has received more than $750,000 from funds allocated to feed jail inmates but not used for that purpose. That has helped the sheriff and his wife purchase $1.7 million worth of real estate.

Etowah County, Al., Sheriff Todd Entrekin and his wife Karen purchased a four-bedroom house with an in-ground pool and canal access in an upscale area for $740,000 in September. Entrekin got a $592,000 mortgage from Peoples Bank of Alabama. The home is one of several properties with a total assessed value of more than $1.7 million that the couple own together or separately in two counties, reports Some residents question how a county sheriff making a five-figure annual salary can afford to own multiple houses, including one worth nearly three-quarters of a million dollars. Ethics disclosure forms show that over the past three years, Entrekin has received more than $750,000 worth of “compensation” from a source he identified as “Food Provisions.”

The money in the account was allocated by federal, state and municipal governments to feed inmates in the Etowah County jail, but was not used for that purpose and was instead personally pocketed by Entrekin. “In regards to feeding of inmates, we utilize a registered dietitian to ensure adequate meals are provided daily,” Entrekin said. “As you should be aware, Alabama law is clear as to my personal financial responsibilities in the feeding of inmates. Regardless of one’s opinion of this statute, until the legislature acts otherwise, the Sheriff must follow the current law.” Alabama sheriffs contend that the practice of keeping “excess” inmate-feeding funds for themselves is legal under a state law passed before World War II. In several counties, any money allocated to sheriffs for feeding inmates that is not used for that purpose is instead turned over to the county government. Entrekin reported on forms he filed with the Alabama Ethics Commission that he made “more than $250,000” each of the past three years via inmate-feeding funds.