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ATLANTA – The recession is hitting home for inmates, too: Some cash-strapped states are taking aim at prison menus.
Georgia prisoners already didn't get lunch on the weekends, and the Department of Corrections recently 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 still getting enough calories, but family members and critics say the changes could make prisoners irritable and food a valuable commodity, increasing the possibility of violence.
In Georgia, inmates are still 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.
Almost 5 percent of the state's 58,295 prisoners still get three meals every day because they are diabetic, pregnant or have other special health needs.
Barbara Helie, whose 25-year-old son Nicholas is serving time for armed robbery in Valdosta State Prison, said he would go hungry without the roughly $60 a week she puts into his account to buy instant soups, cheese, beef sticks and other snacks at the prison commissary.
"I don't know how the guys who don't have someone on the outside helping out handle it," Helie said. "Food has been an ongoing issue for him ... He's hungry a lot."
Georgia's fast-growing prison system — the fifth-largest in the nation — has been hit hard by the same budget woes plaguing other states. For the current fiscal year, the state has slashed almost 10 percent from the state Department of Corrections' $1.1 billion budget.
Friday lunches were a casualty of the department's decision to save money on gas and other costs by scaling back the prisoner work week from five eight-hour days to four 10-hour days, said Calvin Brown, Georgia Department of Corrections Deputy Director of Facility Operations. He couldn't say how much the state is saving.
For years now, Georgia prisoners have received only two meals a day on weekends because they don't work, so now the same holds true on Fridays. They get three meals on work days because they are exerting themselves on road crews and litter pick up.
There are no federal minimum caloric standards for state prison systems, though they are encouraged to adhere to guidelines established by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Food and Nutrition Board. Georgia officials say they follow those guidelines, and Brown said there have been some complaints from inmates and family members but no lawsuits.
In Ohio, prisons director Terry Collins said eliminating breakfast on the weekends and replacing it with brunch "could save us some real dollars when it comes to staffing and food costs."
He said the move would not upset prisoners because it would not sacrifice quality.
"I don't expect them to be as good as mom's home cooking, but the food should be cooked and presented properly," Collins said.
Other states have kept three meals but are scaling back menus. Earlier this month, Alabama reduced the milk and fresh fruit it serves to save $700,000. Alabama inmates now receive 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 has also cut back on milk portions for men — from two servings a day to one — to save $600,000.
Gordon Crews, a professor at Marshall University in West Virginia, wrote a book looking at correctional violence and said historically there have been links between food and problems behind bars. He pointed to a February riot at the Reeves County Detention Center in Texas caused in part by poor food quality.
"A lot of prisoners will see something like that as some kind of retribution against them or some kind of mistreatment," Crews said. "It'll be something that the correctional staff will pay the price for ... another reason (for inmates) to argue and fight back."
In Georgia, reports of inmate assaults — on both staff and other inmates — are up substantially for fiscal year 2009 over the year before, according to data obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request.
Prison officials deny the increase has anything to do with the shrinking menu but didn't provide an explanation.
Sara Totonchi, of the Southern Center for Human Rights, called the elimination of Friday lunch part of a troubling trend of budget cuts in Georgia's correctional system.
"We don't think this is a good idea," she said. "It destabilizes things inside the prison and that is not good for any of the inmates or staff."
 

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i say this is good. teach them crime committing people a lesson they wont forget. if they fight, shoot them.

i dont know why we are so worry about the well being of those pensioners, they are there because they committed a crime. where as a law following citizen like me would never have to worry about this stuff.

whats funny to me is that the mother in this article is complaining about how she have to spent 60 on her son's food. what does she have to bitch about. she field as a parent to teach her kid right and wrong. now shes paying the price. what she think prison is. its not a vocation spot where you go can chill.

so i say make them suffer, give them pain, emotionally and physically. the reason the current rehabilitation dont work is because they dont learn. from experience people learn best from pain.
 

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What they should do is cut back on the proteins, and give them more filler and fiber. That way it would be harder for them to bulk up during prison stays, so they aren't SUPER-CRIMINALS when they get out with everything they have learned in prison and all the time they have had to work out.
 

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awww...poor bastards.

:rolleyes:

I have a really hard time feeling sorry for these people....
 

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Note to self: stay out of prison.
It's gonna be hard to do, but I'm gonna try my best.

They should just grind up the guys they execute and feed them to the rest of the prisoners.
 

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personally I think they should fire the fat over paid lazy ******* guards first before cutting back on food.

Take it from some one whose visited our fine penal system over an issue of not having ID and being detained, less meals will mean more problems which means more guards which will worsen the situation not improve it.

I do however think pink jumpsuits, tent living and hard work is beneficial reform and tasering the really nasty people and posting there silly little screams on youtube - can't act hard when the whole world watches you pee your pants.

Oh and stop putting people in jail for hurting themselves, jail should protect us from other people, not people from themselves.

If they want to smoke crack till there eyeballs fall out fine thats there freedom, till they cross the line of hurting other people let them rot in there own world.
 

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Barbara Helie, whose 25-year-old son Nicholas is serving time for armed robbery in Valdosta State Prison, said he would go hungry without the roughly $60 a week she puts into his account to buy instant soups, cheese, beef sticks and other snacks at the prison commissary.
Didn't even realize there is a SNACK BAR in PRISON. Their 2 or 3 meals a day which comes out of OUR paychecks plus any extra snacks they get sounds like more food than I was able to get when I was in COLLEGE. lol
 

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going to jail for some people is like going on trip for a family reunion. you get to see brothers, uncles, cousins you haven't seen in awhile. hang around, play some b-ball, maybe some spades after lunch. and finish the day with some TV...nice life............

buy your own food like we do. prisons should be run as work camps. no work..no food.
just like me and you.........
 

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Note to self: stay out of prison.
It's gonna be hard to do, but I'm gonna try my best.

They should just grind up the guys they execute and feed them to the rest of the prisoners.
Bahahaha!! Agreed!
:director: YOU CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS CAREFULLY IN JAIL - CAUSE YOU MAY HAVE THEM FOR DINNER!!
 

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Who cares??? Prison is supposed to suck.

Maybe, just maybe, if they stopped incarcerating non-violent drug offenders...we wouldn't have to pay so much! I am disliking the US more and more everyday...
 

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Who cares??? Prison is supposed to suck.

Maybe, just maybe, if they stopped incarcerating non-violent drug offenders...we wouldn't have to pay so much! I am disliking the US more and more everyday...
But... the private corporations that run all the prisons need more profit/inmates or wall street is going to get pissed. Priorities here folks, lets not worry about them stoners that go in as non-violent offenders but come out as hardened criminals. Rehabilitation is bad for business.
 

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This country has the largest prison population in the world.
That ought to tell you something about the police state we live in.
China, a communist country that has almost 5 times the population houses less people in its prisons.
Like pbeaul said, there is way too much money being made in these private prisons to let them out.
For those that say "make em work" I say, whose jobs are they going to be giving to these prisoners? Yours, thats who.

Check out this great dutch documentary on the Prison Industrial Complex, and we'll see if you feel the same way afterwards.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LVYRd1Ei2s&feature=PlayList&p=9E5803EE4D2516DA

Also, check this one out:

American Drug War: The Last White Hope

 

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personally I think they should fire the fat over paid lazy ******* guards first before cutting back on food.

Take it from some one whose visited our fine penal system over an issue of not having ID and being detained, less meals will mean more problems which means more guards which will worsen the situation not improve it.

I do however think pink jumpsuits, tent living and hard work is beneficial reform and tasering the really nasty people and posting there silly little screams on youtube - can't act hard when the whole world watches you pee your pants.

Oh and stop putting people in jail for hurting themselves, jail should protect us from other people, not people from themselves.

If they want to smoke crack till there eyeballs fall out fine thats there freedom, till they cross the line of hurting other people let them rot in there own world.
I like this guy. :01_thumbu
 

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i remember there was a lawsuit a while back about a dude in solitary complaining of only gettnig bread and water.. What he didn't know was they were chopping up other ingredients very finely.. carrots - meat etc.. and baking it into the bread so he had the same nutrition.. lawsuit failed. I think we should just do that for everybody. Or instead of giving people 3 back to back to back life sentences.. and paying 40,000 a year to keep them in prison we could spend 1.50 on a bullet and put it in their dome piece. i mean what?
 

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In New York they're trying to get wealthy prisoners to pay for their stay. Its dubbed the "Madoff Bill" and will make prisoners pay $90 a day. Makes perfect sense to me.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32303397/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/

I think prisons should always give their prisoners free bread and water but have a really expensive menu that prisoners could order from. A $20 slice of pizza or a $90 steak. What'll it be. lol
 
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