Sunday, May 6, 2007
From Kansas.com: A thin puddle of sloppy joe mixture stares up from the plastic tray, not far from a purplish lump of bread pudding and small pool of mustard greens.
It's lunchtime at the Sedgwick County, Kansas Jail. The food's not pretty, but many would argue it's not supposed to be.
What it is, is cheap -- likely no more than 40 cents' worth of food in all.
Like many governmental entities, Sedgwick County has significantly reduced the amount it spends to feed inmates.
Last year, the county contracted with a local company, Wichita Canteen, to feed prisoners for $1.23 per meal, from which labor, profit and other costs are taken.
In February, it made a deal with the Louisiana-based ABL Management to do the same job for $1.01. With the jail serving about 3,900 meals a day, that's a savings to the county of several hundred thousand dollars a year.
The contract change attracted little attention at the time. But last week, county commissioner Gwen Welshimer ate lunch at the jail and told The Eagle it was "not something you'd serve humans."
Another commissioner, Kelly Parks, said he ate 80 percent of his jail meal. But he told The Eagle he found a small piece of plastic in one of his meatballs, and suffered from heartburn that afternoon.
Despite their experiences, neither commissioner thinks the county needs to spend more money on inmates' meals. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]