Food is a fundamental need, regardless of which side of the bars you stand. Similarly, the proper distribution of food entails basic requirements. However, in referencing the national Food Service Manual by the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau, it is evident that operating in accordance with the law isn’t that simple; intricate layers of standards exist. Correctional foodservice operations rely on the supervision and guidance of Food Service Administrators and Registered Dietitians to ensure compliancy of such standards like approved menus, nutritional analysis, meal planning and food safety. As we all know, the economic climate in the past few years has been stormy and prisons nationwide have had a downpour of drastic cut-backs. The responsibility of effective management has also inclined in degree of importance, as foodservice leaders are faced with the challenge of making the most with shrinking budgets. Can this be achieved without compromising the quality of food, or the welfare of people? Can foodservice leaders adequately achieve these objectives or must they resort to contract management? Incarceration offers the opportunity to rehabilitate and train offenders for the prospect of becoming law-abiding civilians. Considering the role of food, foodservice leaders in corrections are beginning to recognize its ability to effect the environment. But what foodservice leaders need to understand is that outsourcing doesn’t necessarily guarantee effective management. In fact, there is much evidence to prove that contracting can be unfavorable when nutrition and foodservice guidelines are not correctly met. For instance, Prison Legal News identified the following concerns amongst institutions that are contracted:

  • Inadequate maintenance of kitchen facilities and equipment
  •  Flawed dietary practices and unmanaged menus Deficiency of hot food
  • Excessive weight loss of inmates caused by the reduction of meals served daily
  •  Improperly using leftovers to plan meals
  • Food not prepared at the correct temperature
  • Incidences of food poisoning
  • Correctional administrators  abusing the privatization guidelines by profiting from excess funds of meal payments
  • Institution personnel engaging in illegal schemes with contractors or bribes from inmates
  • Insufficient staffing

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