Commission acts on increasing jail food services

Published 9:53 pm Monday, April 8, 2013

The Dallas County Commission discussed the possibility of transferring additional funds in order to help pay the increasing costs of food services for the Dallas County Jail and other inmate facilities Monday.

Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard said the county has incurred additional expenses due to both the amount of inmates in the jail, the juvenile detention center and boot camp and the nutritional standards mandated by the state for the juveniles.

Ballard said the county is currently operating with about 200 inmates total and at Monday’s meeting he asked the commission to move $11,200 from the personnel budget to the food service budget.

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“We are not in total need of that money just yet,” Ballard said after the meeting. “But it will be there for later on when we do need it.”

Ballard said with more than 200 inmates, Dallas County Jails are serving an estimated 600 meals a day — something the state reimburses for partially but Ballard said it is not enough.

“We actually get reimbursed from the state less than we have to pay [for the inmates’ food] so we go in the hole every month,” Ballard said and added that the a big reason why they are in the hole is because of “the small amount we get reimbursed for by the state and we have been lobbying for years to get that raised because it’s ridiculously low how much we get reimbursed for.”

Ballard also said he is glad the money that was appropriated for the additional food was already in the budget; it just had to be moved from personnel to food services.

Dallas County is currently in a contract with Five Star Corrections, a company that runs the food services for the inmates and Ballard said he would meet with the company in the next week to address the contract and the current costs of food services.