An attempt by the Georgia prison system to make its food healthier has been temporarily rebuffed by inmates – some of whom rebelled against lower-fat, lower-sodium, reduced-calorie meals, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Officials are not trying to make prison more pleasing; they’re trying to lower medical costs. The state, in an attempt to retain $1.6 million in annual federal nutrition funds, rolled out the new meals on March 7.
Men’s meals were cut back by about 130 calories to 2,900; women’s by 250 to 2,200. Two-thirds cup of creamed beef, two biscuits, an orange, and cheese grits at breakfast became one-half cup of creamed beef, one biscuit, an orange and grits – with no cheese, or powdered cheese sauce. Meat and vegetable servings were reduced. Inmates complained, and 20 days later, the old menus were back. Officials insist the new meals will make a return by summer. “You’re striving for a healthier inmate,” said administrator Michael Nail. What that gets you is lower medical costs.” There’s a correlation between dissatisfaction with prison food and inmate behavior. Food was the primary cause of at least 42 prison riots in the last century. One inmate called a new Georgia grits casserole “just kind of bland and looked like someone had been sick.”