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Old 11-07-2004, 09:52 AM
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Default Ohio Inmates To Help Slaughter Their Own Beef

Ohio Inmates To Help Slaughter Their Own Beef

Beef, Pork To Feed 44,000 Ohio Prisoners

POSTED: 3:17 PM EST November 6, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Inmates will learn to be butchers, providing their peers with meat at mealtime and themselves with marketable skills after their release.

Inmates at the Pickaway Correctional Institution will help slaughter cows and pigs to provide more than 3.4 million pounds of beef and pork to feed 44,000 prisoners in 32 institutions statewide.

About 120 minimum- and medium-security inmates will be trained, under strict supervision and constant video surveillance, in meat-cutting — a trade they can use when they get out of prison, state prisons director Reginald Wilkinson said.

They'll work with 22 correctional staff members as butchers in a new $10.6 million, 37,000-square foot processing plant that — when fully operational in two years — is expected to save Ohio taxpayers $2 million annually by reducing reliance on outside meat purchases.

"I can't see a downside," Wilkinson said. "We're not really competing with the private sector. In fact, we think it will have a positive impact on those Ohio farmers who sell us cattle."

The plant's equipment will get a test run in a few weeks and begin operations in December.

By 2007, the plant is expected to process beef and pork for other state agencies, including the departments of mental health and youth services, officials said.

Fred Dailey, the state's agriculture director, said it never made sense for state prisons to buy meat elsewhere, particularly out of state when quality often was an issue.

"This is going to be good for prisons and inmates, and it's going to be good for Ohio's beef-cattle industry," said Dailey, who will train meat inspectors at the prison plant. "Now we have one more bidder on what we produce on Ohio farms."

The idea of the state entering the meat-processing business initially caused concerns that it would compete with private business.

But state lawmakers, including Senate President Doug White, a Manchester Republican, and Republican Rep. John Schlichter of Washington Court House, assuaged concerns and got money for the project in the Legislature.

"All I did was carry the ball the last yard," said White, a cattle farmer. "I don't know anything about prisons, but I do know something about agriculture. A degree in animal science serves me real well in Columbus."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Old 11-07-2004, 11:54 AM
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wow does this mean the guys will be eating half way decent food. Because the way it stands now they only pay about .62 cents on every meal they serve the men. I don't know about you but I can't feed a 6year old on .62 per meal.
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