Frozen jail meals on menuLake County Sheriff Carey Johnson thinks he’s found a way to save $30,000 a year on the cost of feeding jail inmates.
Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson thinks he’s found a way to save $30,000 a year on the cost of feeding jail inmates. And it’s easier that you might think. In essence, Johnson plans to buy two $5,000 “super-convection” ovens and simply zap food for inmates and their two meals a day.
The jail would have to hire some staff to do that cooking and prep meals, but the cost is expected to be just $70,000 compared to the current cost of $100,000 to get meals through staff at the Sunrise living complex in Two Harbors.
Johnson said the budget for the next fiscal year calls for spending $60,000, which meals should level to after the purchase of the ovens and doing some retrofitting in the current kitchen.
Meals would come frozen from a vendor, Fuzion Food Group in Sioux Falls, and would have simple directions for cooking in its ovens.
“The bag of chicken breasts would say eight and that’s the setting you put on the oven,” Johnson said.
There would be some rearranging in a kitchen at the jail that has never been fully used. Johnson said staff has boiled hot dogs or heated soup but that’s about it. The conventional oven there will likely be removed.
The sheriff’s office would have to go through the county board when it comes to hiring any new staff to do the cooking and prep work.
Fuzion is owned by Gene Okerlund, known to many as “Mean Gene” of pro wrestling announcing fame. Fuzion has been used primarily for quick food in convenience stores under the “Mean Gene’s Grill” name. Many Cenex gas stations in Minnesota use the service. The company is branching out to institutions, Johnson said.