SPOKANE, Wash.—The cost to feed Spokane County Jail inmates keeps rising. However, 2 On Your Side found that the expense to feed an inmate for an entire day was just half of the price of what one lunch costs for Spokane high school students.
Jail officials said they pulled all the stops to keep costs down.
KREM 2 News learned there had been an increase in food prices for the jail since 2004 but it did not amount to the rise in prices at the grocery store.
Inmates handle 90 to 95% of kitchen duty at the jail.
“Basically our staff cooks are just supervisors that supervise inmates doing all the hand and lifting labor,” said Detention Services Food Manager Doug Malcom.
It was one of the many things that staff said they did to keep inmates’ bellies and taxpayers’ wallets full.
Statistics showed the price of keeping an inmate fed for a day jumped 36% over a span of ten years. The price went from $1.12 per day in 2004 to $1.52 per day in 2014.
“Prices have increased over all for food. Luckily we purchase in bulk and do a lot of purchasing on bids,” said Malcom.
The cost of feeding an inmate for one day was just half of the price of what one lunch costs for Spokane high school students.
Numbers showed it cost $1.52 for three mails at the jail versus $2.95 for one lunch at a Spokane area high school.
Jail staff said they search to find the best deals. Staff also said they rarely have leftovers at the jail. They said any leftovers go into soup.