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State prisons looking for savings in food for inmates

State prisons looking for savings in food for inmates

by
Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
March 4, 2010
Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
Author Image
March 4, 2010

The Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) is trying to find $1 million in savings in its food service programs for offenders in state prisons.  IDOC will stop serving juice to inmates and will allow them to pick which food they want to eat at a meal, cafeteria-style, to avoid wasting food.  The corrections department would also adjust its food service staffing and rely more on bulk food purchases.

“We’re proud that we have one of the lowest inmate cost-per-day figures in the country, but we can always do better,” said IDOC Director Brent Reinke. “That’s why I’m challenging our food service staff to find ways to trim more than $1 million from their budget by the end of the next year.”  Reinke said he's worked to figure out what food is being left of inmates' plates  “We’ve had staffers digging through the dumpsters to determine
what’s being wasted,” he said. “But while we’re serious about saving money, we also know food management is critical to the safe and orderly operation of our institutions, so we’ll be moving forward very carefully.”

IDOC currently spends an average of $1.63 on each of the 4.7 million meals it serves a year.  Reinke wants to lower that cost to $1.47.

Read the full IDOC news release below.

IDOC Works to Cut Food Costs

BOISE - In a move aimed at decreasing its already low operational costs, the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) is developing a business plan to reduce the department’s food service budget.

“We’re proud that we have one of the lowest inmate cost-per-day figures in the country, but we can always do better,” said IDOC Director Brent Reinke. “That’s why I’m challenging our food
service staff to find ways to trim more than $1 million from their budget by the end of the next year.”

The cost-saving measures fall in four categories:

· Menu modifications including the elimination of juices.
· Switch to a self-select feeding system so offenders can choose one
serving of the item they want instead of serving a standardized meal to everyone.
· Operational changes including centralized purchasing and greater reliance on bulk items for serving.
· Staffing adjustments through modification of work schedules.

“We’ve had staffers digging through the dumpsters to determine what’s being wasted,” Director Reinke said. “But while we’re serious about saving money, we also know food management is critical to the safe and orderly operation of our institutions, so we’ll be moving
forward very carefully.”

IDOC serves 4,700,000 meals a year. The average cost per meal is now $1.63. The department’s goal is to reduce the figure to $1.47.

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