Update: Judge releases jailed sheriff

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A federal judge has ordered the release of an Alabama sheriff he locked up for purposely feeding inmates skimpy meals so he could make money off the jail kitchen.

U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon issued a brief order Thursday saying Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett could be freed based on promises from his lawyer, who presented the court with a plan for improving the jailhouse meals.

The sheriff's whereabouts weren't immediately clear.

But Clemon ordered his arrest late Wednesday after a hearing in which Bartlett said he made $212,000 over three years by cheaply feeding prisoners, some of whom complained of constant hunger in jail.

Bartlett kept the money legally under a Depression-era state law and said he reported the jailhouse profit on his tax forms as income.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)