Jail inmates to get bedtime snack

FAIRMONT – Compliance with a state Department of Corrections mandate will cost Martin County about $5,200 per year in additional meal costs at the jail.

Currently, inmates are served three meals per day Monday through Friday, with a brunch and evening meal served on weekends, Chief Deputy Corey Klanderud told Martin County commissioners Tuesday. When a bunch is served, there is about a 16-hour window between meals, a gap that prompted a complaint to the department.

“We were originally told by the DOC that (brunch) was allowable. We’ve been doing it for years,” Klanderud said.

He offered three solutions: alter meal times, provide a third meal on weekends or provide a bedtime snack.

To meet the 14-hour limit between meals, the evening meal would have to be served by 6 p.m., with brunch at 8 a.m., still leaving a significant gap between meals.

“They (inmates) get a little harder to deal with when they haven’t been fed,” Klanderud said.

Adding a third meal on Saturdays and Sundays would cost the county an additional $10,400 per year, with meals for an estimated 25 inmates costing $4 each. Qualifying snacks would cost $2 per day.

“If a nourishing snack is provided at bedtime, up to 16 hours may elapse between the substantial evening meal and breakfast,” states the DOC regulation. It defines snacks as a combination of two or more food items of the four food groups, such as cheese and crackers or fresh fruit and cottage cheese.

Klanderud offered no specific recommendation to the commissioners, but advised them to select one of the three options.

“We want to make sure we stay in compliance,” he said.

Commissioners voted unanimously for the snack option, noting it makes more sense than changing meal times and is less expensive than adding another meal.