Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Feeding a prisoner for under four bucks a day!

As a teenager in the 1950s, I was a grocery bagger in my father’s supermarket. Of all the people who came for their weekly food supplies, I remember one woman who paid over $20 consistently for her grocery order. She was obviously very poor, but was the parent of a large flock of kids. I would carry her bags to the car, while her husband sat in the vehicle reading the newspaper. Usually 4-5 bags, filled to the brim. Not many people spent that kind of money on groceries.

Today, in 2017, I did the grocery shopping for Marcia and me. I paid $104 and some odd cents! Two octogenarians do not consume a lot of food, and I don’t purchase filet mignon and caviar.

I’m fully aware of the fact that those entities that purchase large amounts of food can save plenty. I did some checking on school meals. The latest statistics I could find showed the average cost of lunch for an elementary school student was $2.34. That’s a deal!

I bring up all of this stuff because my mind is still reeling over a story that Detroit Free Press writer Paul Egan broke recently regarding meals in the Michigan prison system. Once again maggots were found. Besides that, dirt was found in some of the food.

Meals are provided in Michigan prisons by Trinity Services Group, a national agency based in Florida. Rather than use state employees, Michigan chooses to outsource for chow.

I’ll save the comments on maggots and dirt, problems with Trinity employees, and the numerous penalties already paid by that company. I want to focus on cost.

I asked Egan to break down the contract so we could figure out how much money is spent on a meal for a prisoner. His reply: The cost for a single meal is $1.29! In other words, the State of Michigan spends $3.87 per day to feed the nearly 40,000 persons supervised by the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Granted, because I know I can’t take the money with me when I leave this earth, I now enjoy the luxury of buying my sandwich ham from the deli instead of in a bargain package. And I now feel that it’s OK to purchase higher priced bread from the bakery, rather than the stuff off the shelf.

But $1.29 per meal? $3.87 per day?

The next time you’re in the store, see what you can buy for under four bucks.

Quoting Mahatma Ghandi: “A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”

Wonder how Pure Michigan stacks up?


holly said...

And I wonder what the stats are for high blood pressure, diabetes and tooth decay in inates trying to supplement their diet with the prepackaged high sodium, high sugar offerings by the State, for a personal cost to the inmate of course that's not a tax paid luxury just to be clear.

Wendy said...

Trinity contracts with the MDOC's food vendor as well. If the inmates don't eat in the chowhall and instead buys their food goods from the store, Trinity still makes money!!!

There are SO many health issues within the prison. High blood pressure, diabetes, cavities and tooth decay, rashes, headaches, and many other issues. I also think some of these issues correlate with the lead in the water. Some facilites, (St. Louis and Ionia facilities), have rusty water. The lead levels need to be checked! Lead poisoning is dangerous for adults. Signs and symptoms in might include:

High blood pressure
Joint and muscle pain
Difficulties with memory or concentration
Abdominal pain
Mood disorders
Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm
Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women

Facilities could help greatly if they allowed gardens to use the fresh fruit and vegetables in the chowhall. Instead the facilities donate the food to pantrys. Frustrating.

holly said...

I have hear the complaints on the water in St Louis but not so much Ionia... Hanlon? Or all? And who will do the water testing? I mean really, who will? :(