Alabama jail inmates go on hunger strike

(Source: Pxhere/MGN Online)
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JACKSON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Can you cook three warm meals for $1.75? That’s the task for workers at prisons and jails in Alabama. Some inmates at Jackson County jail are not only upset with the menu, they have been protesting and refusing to eat it.

The hunger strike inside the Jackson County Jail is officially over.

It’s important to know there are more than 220 inmates inside, but only 19 participated in the hunger strike. We talked with an inmate’s mother and she says it all started with one meal in particular.

“He said they brought us one piece of bread with maybe a spoonful of chili on it, looked like maybe chili and possibly 2 tablespoons of corn and a little bit of torn lettuce. He said we refused to take it,” said Anita Vann.

Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips disagrees with the amount of food the inmates were given and he says a nutritionist plans the meals the inmates receive.

“It’s a sloppy joe mix, we don’t have buns so we have to use just sandwich bread and they get two vegetables with that,” said Phillips.

Phillips says it’s hard providing meals with a small budget for those behind this barbed wire fence.

“When you’re in jail, you got to understand that I get $1.75 a day per inmate to feed three meals. That averages out to a little over 58 cents. Now you’re not going to get a lot of food for 58 cents, but you’re going to get what the state say’s you have to have. Nobody is keeping any money, nobody is taking any food home, all the money is spent. Currently I’m almost $4,000 in the hole because I don’t have enough money to pay the bills,” said Phillips.

Vann was able to video chat with her son and they say something has to change.

“They’re starving in there and it’s very inhumane I believe for them to be able to not feed them appropriately,” said Vann.

Phillips says lawmakers here in Alabama are discussing legislation today that would increase the amount of money they’re given for inmates from $1.75 a day to $2.25.

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