States Cut Inmate Meals; Critics Fear Violence


Some cash-strapped states are taking aim at prison menus, reports the Associated Press. Georgia prisoners already didn’t get lunch on the weekends, and the Department of Corrections eliminated the midday meal on Fridays, too. Ohio may drop weekend breakfasts and offer brunch instead. Other states are cutting back on milk and fresh fruit. Officials say prisoners are getting enough calories. Family members and critics say the changes could make prisoners irritable and food a valuable commodity, increasing the possibility of violence.

Georgia inmates are getting the same number of daily calories: 2,800 for men and 2,300 for women. The portions at breakfast and dinner are bigger on days only two meals are served. Other states kept three meals but are scaling back menus. Alabama reduced the milk and fresh fruit it serves to save $700,000; inmates get an apple or an orange once a week, down from twice a week. Milk has been reduced from seven servings per week to three. Tennessee back milk portions for men from two servings a day to one to save $600,000. Prof. Gordon Crews of Marshall University in West Virginia wrote a book looking at correctional violence and said there have been links between food and problems behind bars.

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