In 1939, Alabama gave local sheriffs control over prisoner food budgets. They could decide how the money was spent and what food was served.
If they spent less than what was budgeted, the rest of the money would not go back to the county, it would go legally into the sheriffs' pockets. Hey, what could go wrong?
It wasn't until 2019 when the Alabama legislature changed the law so any excess funds would go back into public coffers.
Before then, sheriffs abused prisoners so they could build expensive private homes, but that's not the only way prisoners and their families were extorted and we'll tell you about those, too.
When you have a captive market, the pickin's are easy.