Saturday, January 09, 2016
“If you really don’t like the prison food, there’s one way to avoid it, and that’s don’t go to prison."This is what Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall said in response to complaints about poor jail food quality and quantity after the government's decision to contract out prison food to a for-profit company, Compass Group -- which is also in the news today for sexual favours.
Stay classy, Brad!
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So, what do you think prison food should be like? Should prison food concessions be run by the Outback Steak House or Red Lobster?
Considered in all its dimensions, prison isn't supposed to be pleasant. Prison food should be nutritionally balanced and wholesome, but not really much of a pleasure.
Prison is punishment after all.
The point is, prisoners don't have a choice about what they eat, and its not fair to feed them poorly just because we can't be bothered to do better. Uncooked eggs may be "wholesome" enough but they're not particularly pleasant to eat. Civilized countries don't use poor food to "punish" anyone -- and the prisoners in this case include people who are not convicted of any crime but are just too poor to get out on bail.
Prison terms are mandated by our laws, and no government in Canada says poor food should be part of a prison sentence. That's why I found Wall's comment so offensive.
So,are prisoners in the category of "honored guests"?
I am mystified to think that you think that people who have committed often vile offenses, not only against "the state" but also against individual people, are entitled to be fed like the rest of us...
There's nothing implicitly wrong with a for-profit company. Governments waste money and do a poor job as well. While I agree prisoners should not be served food that I would refuse to eat, I also don't think prisoners have a right to restaurant quality food either.
I once, long ago, worked for a major Canadian catering company in a provincial correctional institution and I know cooks who who work in Canadian prisons.
We had very ethical management plus the correctional management monitored food services closely so we provided pretty good service.
Eric/Zeppo, it was not close to Red Lobster. That seems to be some canard put about by someone whose closest experience with a prison was driving along King St. W in Kingston and passed Kinston prison. Actually, if you walk down the west sidewalk you can touch the outside wall.
The food we provided was well cooked but more like what a savvy cook on a welfare budget might provide. A bit better because we had enough money for the entire month and a trained dietitian at head office to make sure the diet was adequate.
In an prison, correctional institution, etc, food attains an importance that far exceeds anything on the outside. Meals are a major break in the same old, same old, days.
There are some good reasons for decent quality food. Not fancy but adequate.
Ill prepared food or even a slightly unequal portion compared to the guy beside you can literally provoke a fight, perhaps a stabbing that kills someone or, worse case scenio, a full-blown riot that kills prisoners, trashs parts of the prion and, sometimes, guards. I don't think most guards signed up to be killed over a poor meal. It has happened.
You also have to remember that, often, prisoner health is much worse than that of the average person on the outside. Hint: not many prisoners have Conrad Black's background.
Poor nutrition may kill a prisoner. A five-year sentence is not supposed to turn into a death sentence due to neglect, incompetence or cupidity
Cathie Uncooked eggs may be "wholesome" enough but they're not particularly pleasant to eat. is not true. Salmonella is present in a large number of chicken flocks in Canada. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2272013/.
Salmonella, particularly some strains, can make you very sick or kill you, particularly if you are very young, old, in ill health or have an impaired immune system. Many prisoners are old, in ill health or have an impared immune system or all of the above.
In a professional kitchen with well-trained staff, proper cooking of chicken and eggs is an obsession. Chicken with no bone, say a boned chicken breast must be at least 73 C for safety and bone-in chicken, say a drum stick or a whole chicken must be 85 C for safety. And this is checked with carefully calibrated thermometers. Somewhat similar rules apply for eggs
All utensils, cutting boards, storage containers must be very carefully disinfected and hands washed before touching anything else, and I mean anything. There is probably no food normally served in Canada with a higher potential for harm.
So Brad Wall is not only offensive he is clueless idiot.