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Federal General Prison Talk, Introductions & Chit Chat Topics & Discussions relating to the Federal Prison & the Criminal Justice System that do not fit into any other Federal sub-forum category. Please feel free to also introduce yourself to other members in the state and talk about whatever topics come to mind that may not have anything to do with prison.

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  #1  
Old 02-02-2006, 02:26 AM
LionsFury LionsFury is offline
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Default Food Food Food OH MY!!!!!!

Great, I was recently sentenced to 57 months and have yet to receieve my designation. Iknow that the judge recommended McKean but I will have to wait to see.

I have seen so many issues about food being an issue it is almost as if every meal I sit at I will be taking my own life in my hands. I am not expecting to eat like the ritz but I don't want to die. I will not have much in the way of money to be buying stuff from the commisary so I will have to rely on the kitchen but to see everyone talk I might be better off takin a bolt instead of turning myself in. I need to eat..........

Green meat and nasty chicken what else do I need to worry about for christ sakes?
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Old 02-02-2006, 07:24 AM
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Actually, the food at FPC Bryan was sometimes pretty good. They had a salad bar, individual packages of breakfast cereal, fresh fruit, etc. If something doesn't look right, don't eat it. You will be fine.
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:35 AM
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The food in Federal prisons isn't always bad; the average Federal inmate gains 30# the 1st year. No, the meals might not be what you'd get at home, but you will not starve to death either especially if you aren't a "picky" eater.

There is also a big chance that your 1st "job" will be in the kitchen and you'll see for yourself that - for the most part - the food is OK and most of it is cooked by the inmates.

If I remember right the staff dining hall serves the same food the inmates get.
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:39 AM
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Folks, let's be careful about causing a panic with unfounded fears regarding prison meals. No institution food is going to taste like home cooking.

It's true that keeping the cost down is a high priority. The warden's bonus is based on successfully keeping the expenditures below budget. Few wardens could tell you the exact head count but they can all tell you the EXACT cost of feeding the population. If many of the inmates are eating at commissary because the kitchen food is tasteless, that just helps keep the budget down, so there’s no incentive to improve the food.

There is, however, a registered dietician that approves the menus, and food safety is closely monitored. It’s cheaper to prevent a problem in the kitchen than treat it in medical.

Most places have a salad bar, and individual packages of breakfast cereal. If you're fortunate enough to get into a Horticultural program you will have access to fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.

If there is something questionable in the food line, the inmates working on the line are providing "hints" to people. Just be aware and don't eat anything that's questionable. There's always a vegetarian alternative.
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Old 02-02-2006, 05:43 PM
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While I have never been privy to "Prison Food", I think SusanT makes some ver valid points. Any time a person is subjected to food that is produced in mass quantity there is going to be some less than pleasing meals. I recall my own days in the military.... God that stuff was awful.... edible but awful. It certainly wwas not mom's cooking. My own wife (one f the best cooks I have ever known) is just not very impressed with the quality of the meals at her facility, but will readily admit it is edible if nothing else. I believe in this case we need to keep in mind that like hospitals, prisons have to cook with accounting for most of the various diet restrictions of those consuming it. Low sodium, sugar-free (or at least reduced) and decreased fat make any meal boring and tasteless. In the end, I think it is al relative... that is to say... a lot will depend on your palate going in and wat you are accustomed to. It's funny, but it seems the lonnger my wife is away... the better the prison food seems to her. This I find sad, but I am glad she is no longer avoiding meal time. I also feel some sadness because I know when she comes home, it may be a long time before she cooks again. Her list of places she wants to eat at keeps getting longer. Ultmately, prison food is adequate. I personally do not know of anyone who has starved to death during a sentence. I do believe they could do better. I know the BOP prdes themselves for spending just under $3.00 a day per person on our Federal inmate's food and read where our Terrosist Detainees in Cuba are allowed just over $12.00/ day. What is wrong with that picture?

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Old 02-03-2006, 01:44 AM
LionsFury LionsFury is offline
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I can certainly understand that I am not going to be eating great meals and I have no real problem with that. My days in the service have accostomed me to many a meal that was less than apetizing. The problem I am having is with this continuing threads about unfit for human consumption that is being found on the boxes of the food it is like this is an everyday occurence instead of every now and then.
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Old 02-03-2006, 06:40 AM
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Lionsfury, I'm 99% sure that is a rumor and that someone either made it up or misread a box that said "fit for human consumption". The BOP kitchen director doesn't go buy food from the local Feed Store. There is a bidding process from verified vendors.

The inventory control whereby something is overlooked and therefore outdated is more of a real problem and if you have a health problem such as high cholesterol, it is going to be difficult to eat a proper diet unless you supplement with food such as canned chicken or tuna from the commissary.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:51 AM
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You will be fine Lionsfury...the food, however tasteless, is not going to kill you...LOL! Don't listen to the rumors!
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:49 PM
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My husband has been eating the food in federal prison for 18 years and he hasn't died yet so don't worry. He says the quality depends on who's in charge of the food service at the time. Zelda
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:22 PM
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I spent a long 18 months working in a kitchen at a FCI and I think I know where this "unfit for human consumption" may have started. We sometimes got stuff from a few fast food chains and the boxes would say "unfit for sale", meaning the burgers were too small, or the chicken wasnt a certain weight to meet their standards etc. The stuff is alot cheaper that way but still safe. I think it was just that the story got a bit changed along the way, I never saw anyone die or even get ill. The COs in the chow hall were pretty strict about that kinda thing. I actually got accoustumed to 2/3 of the meals served, You just have to figure out how to get extras! The smaller the institution the better.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanT
Lionsfury, I'm 99% sure that is a rumor and that someone either made it up or misread a box that said "fit for human consumption". The BOP kitchen director doesn't go buy food from the local Feed Store. There is a bidding process from verified vendors.

The inventory control whereby something is overlooked and therefore outdated is more of a real problem and if you have a health problem such as high cholesterol, it is going to be difficult to eat a proper diet unless you supplement with food such as canned chicken or tuna from the commissary.
First of all I have read with my own eyes that some of the prisons in Ohio have boxes marked unfit for human consumption. As they were taking it off the trucks. I have always read well so I am sure I did not misread the box. The odrc also prides itself on spending as little as possible on inmate food. Yes there is a dietitian that makes up the menu, that does not mean the odrc follows it. I only know in Ohio they don't have salad bars in the inmate dinning room. That must only be Fed. All that said you will be fine just keep an eye on who serves you the food. Look at the food make sure it looks and smells safe. Other then that, do what you can to earn commissary so you can buy sealed items. I hate to add another worry but Raven won't eat at the dinning hall because they allow inmates with hiv and hep c to work chow because they are low on workers. Good luck

p.s. as for the bidding process, of course they look for quality (sarcasm) They take the lowest bid. Go figure out what that means.
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Old 02-04-2006, 01:12 AM
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I have had my time in the lock before county not state and this will be my first and last federal vacation. So now I not only have to think about the food but also HIV and Hepatitus thanks as if I did not have enough to think about. If that is true in Federal Prisons then I am glad to know it and as for a shortage of workers how can that be? Seeing as how the prison population has been increasing exponentialy.
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Old 02-04-2006, 01:33 AM
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Sorry I was just trying to warn you. The shortage comes from the fact that not to many inmates want to work in the chow hall. They usually don't force them in to the chow hall for obvious reasons. Really I am sorry I just wanted you to have a heads up. All of what has been said is why my man doesn't eat at the chow hall, and hasn't for 11 years.
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Old 02-04-2006, 05:43 AM
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Where I was several times you had to clear both Hep B&C tests plus a couple of others before you were mediacally cleared for kitchen duty. The BOP does stand strict to that at least
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Old 02-04-2006, 08:15 AM
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Trust me on this? If you did county time Federal food will seem fine to you; food service in Federal can NOT be compared to State and as I said the food served in the staff dining room is the same as what is being served to the inmates. It often is bland, but since I'm a Tobasco junkie that little problem was easy to solve.
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Old 02-04-2006, 08:20 AM
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AJAP, those are good points. For those of you who are new to the forum, if you are going to a Federal facility, stick to the information in the Federal forum an be grateful you have a Federal case. You'll do more time but your conditions as an inmate are better that the conditions for staff at the state level.
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Old 02-05-2006, 08:46 PM
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LOL I remember the first meal I sat down to eat during my 4 1/2 month stay in the county jail. God it was awful! Tasteless, cold and utterly unidentifieble. Throughout the course of my stay the other inmates would drone on and on about how much better the food was in the federal prisons. From what I've read here, it sounds like they were right!

That said, i still managed to gain 30 pounds... too much commissary I guess.
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Old 02-06-2006, 10:27 PM
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Here is a resently learned flashI picked up this weekend while visiting my wife. I asked some of the "power-that-be" and was told they still screen for Hep C and AIDS and that AIDS pt were automatically disqualified from the kitchen, not so with Hep C. What they used to do was post the name of all the Kitchen Staff who were Hep C poitive so they could take precautions and place them in a non food handeling position. Unfortunately, "Political Correctness" has reared it's ugly head with in the wall of the BOP and it is now a violation to post the names of those with Hep C due to "Privacy Issues". As I was told... we have no idea who has what, if any diseases. The Councelor I talked with said she simple waited until the Doctor at their facility decided to eat in the Kitchen saying "He should know who is safe and who isn't". I know this is not funny, but I would think that if there were thioose with communicable diseases... they should be disqualified from the Kitchen. This is not discrimination... it's just good sense. Hmmmm.

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Old 02-06-2006, 11:30 PM
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No one ever said the BOP made sense. When I was in the reason you didnt go to work right away after A&O was to see what the blood tests came back with. If you were "medically cleared" it was off to food service, otherwise you got whatever else was available.
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Old 02-07-2006, 07:08 AM
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TxRhino, thanks for that post. The bad news is that yes, the staff has the same menu but it is not prepared and served by the same inmates. It is a "special privilege" to be assigned to the staff dining room.

If I were going in, I would:

1.) make sure I was going to get adequate commissary money so I would not be forced to compromise my health eating in the kitchen.

2.) have documentation of this decision mailed to me so that if I were in the IFRP that I could justify the monies being spent at commissary without an unreasonable amount requested by the Unit team for restitution.

This is just disgusting and inhumane to "captured" people who have little choice in my opinion. Hepatitus is forever.
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Old 02-07-2006, 04:20 PM
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And what to do if you can not get adequate money for commisary?
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Old 02-07-2006, 04:29 PM
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Lionsfury, I would get a job in the kitchen so that I could eat what I prepared. I know of one person who worked in the bakery...went to work at 4 am, got off at 7am and had the rest of the day to work out, read, etc.
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Old 02-07-2006, 08:11 PM
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Default Cha Ching $$$$$$$$$

Quote:
Originally Posted by LionsFury
And what to do if you can not get adequate money for commisary?
Well they give you a prison job that pays a minimum of like 10 cents or 12 cents an hour. I had a good one working for the electric maintence dept and it paid pretty good ( around $40 +). They also had Unicor jobs that paid really well but I refused to let them make a profit off me.

I was able to supplement this because I had access to the housing units during the day when most people didn't, I would do peoples laundry and charge them in change or stamps or commissary. They had a limited supply of washers and dryers and it was next to impossible to use them in the regular off times.

I also made some side money fixing up peoples lockers with hooks and shelves, during the day because they gave me a tool belt. Our guard boss would send us out with a pass to replace lightbulbs and ballasts, and I would pick up a few side jobs at the same time.

I also had a penpal ads, but I am not sure they are legal any more for federal prisoners. They were big business. First you would buy a couple picture coupons and then you would mail them out and get a number of penpals going, each sending you $$$ every month.

People made good money helping people with their Pro Se legal issues too. Selling contraband food they snuck out of the kitchen. In my female facility selling knitted hair scrunchies, knitted bikini tops, knitted gifts you could send home as present to your families. Collecting dental peroxide and the good governemnt lye soap so the girls could stay steaky blonde. Doing someone elses daily housekeeping chore for their hall like taking out garbage, sweeping room, etc. I wont say anything about the Hooch in the Downey bottles

Regards,

Lynne

Last edited by newton98; 02-07-2006 at 08:13 PM..
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Old 02-07-2006, 08:23 PM
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Newton98, you have a lot of ingenuity. The downside is that IF someone gets caught doing those things for money or goods, they can lose good time, their preferred job, phone privileges, etc. At FPC Bryan they were very strict about that.
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Old 02-07-2006, 11:06 PM
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Depends on the institution, at Manchester FCI the staff ate the same thing we did, very often I would see it wheeled into their dining hall, while at Lexington there was a special group that did all their food. Minimum pay is $5.25 a month, not 10 cents an hour unfortunately. As for the commisary money debate, I would go with SusanT and get a chow hall job if anyone is that concerned about it. You definately eat better that way. Newton98 made a good point, hustle to make that extra money. Theres alot you can do and not get in trouble.
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