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In Houston County - The Responsiblity of Houston County Commission And Not The Sheriff

Rickey Stokes

Viewed: 5639

Posted by: RStokes
Date: Dec 30 2018 11:12 AM

HOUSTON COUNTY:    It was 1977 when I started with Houston County Sheriff Department. 

The Houston County Sheriff was A.B. Clark, The Houston County Commission Chairman was Nathan Mathis. The Chief Jailer of the Houston County Jail was Bob Lee and the lady in charge of the food bill was Martha Jones.

It was Mrs. Martha Jones responsibility to maintain the bookings in and out of the jail and maintain the accurate Billings to the State of Alabama for the feeding of inmates in and out of the Houston County Jail. As I remember in 1977 and in 2018, the State of Alabama paid Houston County $ 1.75 per inmate - per day for each inmate in the Houston County Jail. 

Feeding a inmate three meals per day for a total of $ 1.75 “per day”. Do you think that you could feed someone healthy meals three times a day for $ 1.75 per day?

One good thing is, for each person charged by the State of Alabama for a criminal offense, the state pays the county $ 1.75 per day. If booked into jail at 11:50 PM and bonded out as 12:10 AM, two days are paid and no meal served.

I know since the days when A.B. Clark served as Houston County Sheriff, forward through current Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza, it has been the responsibility of the Houston County Commission to ”fund“ the feeding of inmates and “all of the money paid by the State of Alabama to Houston County” has gone into the General Fund. From Sheriff Clark forward through today the Houston County Sheriff’s have not profited personally from the feeding of inmates.

That has not been the practice in all Alabama Counties. The financial responsibility, the financial loss or profit, has been the personal responsibility of the County Sheriff.

Under former Houston County Sheriff Lamar Glover’s tenure, Sheriff Glover negotiated an agreement with the City of Dothan and Houston County Community Corrections that meals for those in the City of Dothan Jail and Houston County Community Corrections will be served through the Houston County Jail.

But all costs and profits went in and out of the General Fund in Houston County and the Sheriff did not profit financially.

The Houston County Commission contracts with a vendor to manage the kitchen at the Houston County Jail. 

NOTE:   If the criminal offense the person is charged with is a misdemeanor in a Municipal Court, Dothan-Cottonwood-Ashford—etc..., and the offense not in District Court, the municipality has to pay the county so much per day for that inmate as long as they are in the county jail.

So in Houston County, as far back to Sheriff A.B. Clark in 1977, the Sheriff has not been personally financially responsible for the feeding of inmates nor has the Houston County Sheriff personally profited  from the feeding of inmates.

In Etowah County a feature article of how that has been different.

But if the Sheriff was ”personally” responsible for any loss, then why is he not eligible “personally” for any profit? Can’t have it both ways. article


Towering high above the streets of Gadsden, the Etowah County Detention Center is an outsized presence in the small northeast Alabama town.

As one of the largest buildings downtown, the facility seems too big to house only the county’s thieves, drug dealers and other accused and convicted criminals.

Indeed, the jail serves an additional purpose.

The detention center has a federal contract to incarcerate hundreds of undocumented immigrants who face lengthy legal battles over their immigration status and alleged crimes.

Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin runs that jail. And he makes a lot of money doing it.

In Houston County - The Responsiblity of Houston County Commission And Not The Sheriff

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