In a bid to raise cash and keep the peace in crowded jails, wardens nationwide are allowing inmates who can afford it to order special-request meals, including meatball subs, cheeseburgers and even pizza and wings. The programs can be lucrative for corrections departments, reports the Wall Street Journal. “We have to be creative in tough fiscal times,” said Edwin G. Buss, Indiana’s correction commissioner.
Critics worry the service will trigger jealousies, promote unhealthy diets and coddle prisoners. The service was launched in 2006 by food-service giant Aramark Corp. Inmates–or, more often, their relatives–place orders on Aramark’s “iCare” Web site. The company tailors its menus to each jail’s rules. Prices generally run $7 to $12 for a hot meal and $20 to $100 for a junk-food box filled with beef jerky, iced cookies, vanilla cappuccino or other goodies not available in the commissary. The Indiana state prison system is on track to make more than $2 million this year on sales from the service.