Jails Feed Inmates For Pennies on the Dollar

4 years 6 months 3 weeks ago June 25, 2012 Jun 25, 2012 Monday, June 25 2012 Monday, June 25, 2012 6:15:00 PM CDT in News
By: Dan Kennedy

COLUMBIA - Your taxpayer dollars pay for local prisoners to eat, and officials from the Boone County Jail say they're spending your money as efficiently as possible.

Roy Lindsey feeds nearly 200 inmates three meals every day. Over the past three years as the jail's kitchen manager, he's worked to keep his operation cost efficient. He says it costs less than three dollars a day to feed one prisoner.

"It doesn't come easy," he said. "You can run a bill up easily if you don't budget the food."

Chief Jailer Warren Brewer manages the jail's budget. When the jail is at optimum capacity of or around 195 prisoners, he allocates $175,000 a year to the kitchen budget. Brewer says the jail sticks to that budget. For the past three years, he says the kitchen hasn't spent more than the budgeted amount.

"I think it's providing a good service for the taxpayer dollars," he said. "We have to feed the inmates. I think we are paying good return for the tax dollar expenditure for the county. I really do."

Lindsey lets no food go to waste. It's all for the sake of saving taxpayers money.

"Don't waste a lot. Use everything you can. But food [costs are] high. Stuff went from a couple years ago, what we was paying $25 for, we pay $30 now," he said. "You just got to work with what you have."

Even in jail, food can be a big expense.

"You can always use more money," Lindsey said.

Brewer and Lindsey agree the number one complaint they receive from prisoners is they're not fed enough. Brewer insists that's not the case.

"They're not all great meals. But they're all healthy. If you ate everything, you'd be full," Chief Brewer said.

Lindsey says he eats the same breakfast and lunch he serves the prisoners.

"I wouldn't feed them anything I wouldn't eat," Lindsey said.

The inmates eat at least 2,300 calories per day as recommended by the American Jail Association.

Prison lunch

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