After outlawing special last-meal requests for prisoners on death row, the Texas prison system has now gone one better: They're outlawing meals, period, for everyone.
Since April, the New York Times reports, inmates have not been provided lunches on Saturdays and Sundays.
It's a cost-cutting measure: an effort to trim $2.8 million in food-related expenses from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's 2011 budget, which makes up just a small part of the state's multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall. They've made other changes elsewhere — say powdered milk instead of actual milk, or sliced white bread instead of hamburger buns. The practice is already in effect in Ohio and Arizona prisons; Georgia goes further, serving two meals per day on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The American Correctional Association recommendations state inmates should receive three meals per day, seven days a week. But Daron Hall, the president of the ACA, has no problem with Texas's new policy:
"In the economic climate we're in, you're asked to do some creative and inventive things."John Whitmire, the Democratic state senator whose kvetching led to the last-meal ban, said this:
"If they don't like the menu, don't come there in the first place."Gee, that's sympathetic. We commend his self-restraint in not suggesting they give the TDCJ a bad review on Yelp, then proceeding to devour an entire rotisserie chicken with his bare hands just inches away from a hungry inmate's grasp.
[NYT, photo via Shutterstock]
Texas Prisons Have Stopped Serving Weekend Lunches