GOVERNING.COM, APRIL 2018, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:
No matter how tight the food budget, you can always find ways to cut corners. The state of Alabama sends counties a paltry $1.75 per day to feed each inmate locked up in jail, but sheriffs often manage to spend a good deal less than that. They have a strong incentive to do so. The sheriffs get to keep whatever they don’t spend, which in some cases has reached well into the six figures. Daily ration money adds up.