Prisons Slash Meals to Save Cash

Meals cut out at prisons in Georgia in effort to save money

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There's no such thing as free lunch.

That's why Georgia's prison system -- the fifth largest in the country -- is cutting the mid-day meal out of the prison menu three days a week. 

Inmates in the state already don't get lunch on weekends and the Department of Corrections in Georgia is now slashing lunch from Fridays, too. 

The corrections department insists that prisoners are getting adequate calories but family members aren't pleased and said making food a rarified commodity could increase violence.

Barbara Helie, whose son is jailed, said she has to send him roughly $60 a week so he can buy food at the prison commissary.  

"I don't know how the guys who don't have someone on the outside helping out handle it," she said. 

Sara Totonchi, spokeswoman from the Southern Center for Human Rights, said cutting meals "destabilizes things inside the prison and that is not good for any of the inmates or staff."

But officials argue that inmates get the same caloric intake because the portion size at breakfast and dinner are bigger on days when two meals are served.

Other prison systems looking to slash budgets are cutting things from the kitchen too. Ohio may cut weekend breakfast. Alabama and Tennessee have reduced the milk it serves.

These cuts are expected to save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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