Texas Prisons Cut Lunch on Weekends

Measure is designed to save money
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2011 11:58 AM CDT
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Central Unit seal is painted on the wall at the entrance to the cell block Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011, in Sugar Land, Texas.   (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
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(Newser) – Texas prisons are taking some heat over a decision to keep cooks out of their kitchens. Since April the state has been serving prisoners just two meals a day on weekends in some prisons, in an effort to cut food service costs, the New York Times reports. (Amusingly, the meal that is served between 5am and 7am is called brunch.) That puts the state out-of-step with American Correctional Association guidelines, which recommend three meals per day, with some variations allowed. But “I’ve never read the standard to mean you can do it every weekend,” the head of the Association says.

Texas law requires county inmates to be fed “three times in any 24-hour period,” but has no such protection for state prisoners. Prison officials say there are no legal issues with the program, and that they consulted health officials and dieticians before making the change. Besides, one state senator says, “If they don’t like the menu, don’t come here in the first place.” Most American prisons serve three meals a day, but Texas isn't entirely alone. The state also recently did away with the practice of granting last meals to death row inmates. (Read more Texas stories.)

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