Inmates, patients share same menu |

Inmates, patients share same menu

Jeremy Heiman

Which is worse, prison food or hospital food?In Aspen, they’re the same thing. For 15 years, the nutritionalstaff at Aspen Valley Hospital has contracted with the PitkinCounty Jail to provide three square meals a day (well, two anda half) for inmates at the jail. And from the looks of what’son the menu, it might not be too bad.”We serve them what we serve our patients,” said Sandra Holmes,AVH director of nutritional services. Holmes said some of theentrees on the menu include ribs, Cornish game hens, spaghettiand turkey Florentine.The hospital’s nutritional department, Holmes said, serves mealsin three eight-day cycles totaling a 24-day rotation. “Then itstarts over again,” she said. The hospital’s contract with PitkinCounty includes a skeleton menu that outlines the structure ofeach meal.Lunch must include a three-ounce entree, a one-half cup servingof a starch, a vegetable, a salad with dressing, a dessert, one-halfpint of milk or juice, and bread with margarine. Dinner has thesame pattern. For breakfast, however, AVH only furnishes the inmateswith milk and fruit. Holmes said cold cereal is provided by thejail.A jail officer picks up the meals each day at AVH. Lunch is preparedby 11:45 a.m. and must be picked up by noon, and dinner is preparedby 4:45 p.m. and picked up by 5 p.m. The 1999 contract specifiesthat the county will pay $13.75 per day for each inmate fed, $.81for breakfast and $6.47 each lunch and dinner. The hospital doesthe bookkeeping.Jail meals have a high calorie requirement, Holmes said, becausemany of the inmates are young adults with high metabolic rates.Some inmates have special food needs that the kitchen must accommodate.”We cater to some strange allergies and special diet requests,”Holmes said. “For a while we had somebody that ate only hard-boiledeggs and tuna.”

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