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Paying for jail

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Money in cans
The news some weeks back about the state winning an award of $39,000 from the account of convicted mother-killer Leslie Ballard-MacKool got us wondering: How many other prisoners are helping pay for their upkeep under the State Prison Inmate and Custody Reimbursement Act?

According to Dina Tyler with the Department of Correction, it’s a significant number — bringing in about $90,000 last year. Still, there just aren’t many folks with an outside source of income rattling around in Arkansas’s ironbar hotels.

Tyler said that, under the Custody Reimbursement Act, the state can seek to seize any source of income other than pensions and Social Security payments (during his incarceration, Tyler reminded us, convicted former Secretary of State Bill McCuen shielded income from his state pension from seizure under this wrinkle in the law). In Ballard-MacKool’s case, her money — discovered after a bank statement was sent to the prison — was from her father’s retirement account, and was thus fair game.

Here, courtesy of Tyler and the ADC, are the six highest seizures (both carried out and pending) ordered under the program, with each inmate’s crime and location:

1) Charles Elmore, first-degree sexual abuse; Jefferson County Jail — $63,714

2) Leslie Ballard-MacKool, capital murder, theft of property, McPherson Unit — $39,171

3) Henry E. Ambrose, second-degree murder, Cummins — $15,616

4) Robert Fuller, sexual solicitation of a child, Ouachita River Correctional Unit — $8,760

5) Richard Hubbard, first-degree murder, Cummins Unit — $8,073

6) Adam Belcher, criminal attempt to manufacture and deliver a controlled substance, Varner Unit — $5,511

Do as I say ….
Thanks to, we have a report of a little gift passed out during the National Governors Association convention last week in Washington. Republican governors distributed a book of recipes from their spouses.

You may remember that the NGA itself had a theme of healthy living, courtesy of Gov. Mike Huckabee, he of the thin waistline and preachy book on better living through diet and exercise.

Was the cookbook crammed with parsnip and celery recipes? It was not. From Alabama came fried chicken. Creamed vegetables from Nebraska. “Bullmoose chili” from New York. And from First Lady Janet Huckabee?

Fudge pie and Christmas corn casserole liberally flavored with butter, sour cream and shredded cheese were Arkansas’s contributions. More grave-digging with a knife and fork, to borrow a phrase from a certain marathon man.

There goes the Augusta National Golf Club vote

“Mark Twain once said that golf is a good walk spoiled. I couldn’t agree more. Why anyone would want to take four hours of their day to chase a little white ball around with a bunch of sticks is something I just don’t understand.”

— Gov. Mike Huckabee, in a recent newsletter touting the state’s golfing trail.

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