In the biggest kitchen in Tarrant County, Tx.–the jail–workers prepare 12,000 hot meals a day for 3,500 inmates, says the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. The meals cost a mere $1.04 each, so the only steaks on the menu are Salisburys. The food had better be good, nonetheless. This is not a dinner crowd that anyone wants to see restless.
Food is the great pacifier. “We don’t get any complaints about the food, and we want to keep it that way,” said Sheriff Dee Anderson. “Food is the No. 1 thing that will cause unrest if you are locked up. That’s all you have to look forward to.” Tomorrow, inmates will get sliced turkey breast and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, bread, and pumpkin pie. Meats are boneless because something as innocuous as a chicken leg can turn into a lethal weapon. Fruit and bread are limited because they can be fermented into hoosegow homebrews. The most popular meal is the Friday breakfast: frosted flakes, coffee cake, biscuits, fruit, milk, and coffee. Keeping prisoners calm is everyone’s goal. “A lot of riots that have occurred across the country have been over food,” says one official. “So, we require things to be almost perfect. We can’t say we’ll catch it next time.”