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Inmates tired of jail grub? Baloney!

Associated Press

HASTINGS, Minn. — Many inmates have had it with all the bologna at the Dakota County jail.

The county is saving money by serving two turkey bologna sandwiches and a small side dish of fruit per inmate, per day, every day of the year.

The sheriff’s office calls the lack of diversity a budget saver and an appropriate incentive to stay out of jail.

Chief Deputy David Bellows said jails are usually for short-term stays, with inmates averaging no more than seven or eight days behind bars.

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However, with up to 14 hours between meals, some inmates have questioned whether they’re receiving the appropriate number of calories.

The Minnesota Department of Corrections has defended the bologna-only dinner menu. It notes that the county has a dietitian review the jail’s cuisine every year, which she found averages a healthy 2,700 calories a day per inmate.

"We are following the requirements of the Department of Corrections for both the calorie counts and their nutritional recommendations," Bellows said.

Still, of the 11 complaint letters received by the Corrections Department since January 2004, seven have been about the food.

A common concern was that only one hot meal is served per day.

"Did you forget to inspect the bag lunches??" an inmate wrote in April 2004. "If you would have I’m sure you would have found many with sandwich meat (1 slice) so thin you could read the newspaper through it, many with bags w/o condiments, some may have cookies, some not, oranges the size of a tennis ball, and if lucky the bag will have a one ounce ... bag of chips."

Bellows said that if inmates thought they weren’t getting enough to eat, they could always hit the vending machines and or put in an order for a weekly delivery of convenience-store items, like ramen noodles and junk food.

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