New York State will save $3 million this year by cutting 14 cents off the average $2.24 daily meal cost per inmate, says the Associated Press. Starting this month, all prisoner meals are being made at the medium-security Oneida Correctional Facility near Utica. The state Department of Correctional Services said three meals and beverages can be provided to 66,000 inmates from the one center for $2.10 per prisoner per day.
Meals made at individual prisons cost $2.24 per prisoner per day.
The Oneida food center is undergoing a $19 million expansion to accommodate the enlarged processing capacity. Food is cooked to almost-done, then quick-chilled and sealed in plastic bags. It is trucked to the 70 prisons in the state system, heated up and served.
Among the oversized equipment used at Oneida are five tanks with the individual capacity to cook one ton of food at one time and eight kettles with a capacity of 2,800 gallons. The inmate labor force at the processing center has been expanded by 24, to 110, to handle the new output. The state may produce surplus meals that can be sold to counties to feed their jail populations.
Virginia has cut back from three meals to two a day for inmates on weekends and Texas has reduced from 2,700 to 2,500 the calorie content of inmates’ daily meals. Iowa has cut back on desserts at some of its facilities.