Washington County outsources meals for jail inmates

Posted Dec. 14, 2012, at 11:14 a.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — Washington County hopes to save $30,000 a year by privatizing the process of feeding residents of the county’s jail.

The county’s Board of Commissioners on Thursday authorized a plan to hand over the jail’s kitchen to Aramark, which on a national basis serves 1 million meals a day to prison and jail inmates, including those in jails in Kennebec and York counties in Maine.

Operating the Washington County Jail remains the county’s highest annual expense, at $2 million a year. At a presentation Thursday, Aramark representatives said they could reduce the cost-per-meal from $4.68 to $3.99.

“It’s long been the belief of this Board of Commissioners that every time we can hand something off to private industry, they can do it more efficiently,” said Chris Gardner, board chairman. “This is a good example of that.”

Aramark officials said they expect to assume kitchen duties at the Machias jailhouse within 90 days.

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