Omnivore - Lunch-less in Georgia's prisons

Georgia prisons are scaling back lunch service in an effort to save money.

Georgia prisons are getting national attention this morning for their initiative to save money by not giving prisoners lunch three days a week. According to an Associated Press article running in some major newspapers today, prisoners in Georgia will still get the same amount of calories every day (2,800 for men and 2,300 for women), but now won't get lunch on Fridays - in addition to Saturdays and Sundays, when state prisoners have been lunch-less for years now. Instead, they'll get bigger portions at breakfast and dinner on those days.

As the fifth-largest prison system in the nation, the Georgia Department of Corrections has seen some major budget cuts within the last fiscal year, and they have to make up for the difference any way they can. And at a time when Georgia has a child food insecurity rate of almost 20 percent, it’s hard to decide just who deserves how many free meals every day.

Opponents of the prison lunch cut back say it increases violence in prisons because inmates become disgruntled as food becomes a hot commodity. The AP pulled up reports of inmate assaults through an open records request for their story and found that reports of inmate assaults have increased "substantially" in Georgia prisons for fiscal year 2009 over the previous year. However, it is unclear if there is any connection between the assaults and the lack of lunch.

(Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)