Trumann police projected to save $11,000 on prisoner meals

Saturday, February 9, 2013

With budgets tight, cities are looking at ways to cut costs. One way the Trumann Police Department saving money is by keeping a close watch on the calories in inmates' meals.

"Jail standards require prisoners have a certain amount of calories," said Trumann Police Chief Chad Henson. "2,200 for a regular inmate and 2,800 for a trustee. I noticed when I arrived there was no way to come up with that figure."

The department was not sure how many daily calories prisoners were getting in their meals with the result that they were going over the calorie limits. So Chief Henson decided it was time to trim the fat.

"I felt the money could be cut and given to another program," he said.

Meals have now been cut back to fit requirments. Chief Henson said the microwaveable meal, 8 oz. punch, plastic fork and cup the department uses now costs taxpayers $3.15 each. For the number of inmates Trumann has in a given year, Chief Henson said the department is projecting to save $11,178.45 by cutting back on prisoner meals in 2013.

"The last few years, we've seen an increase in calls," he said. "We have limited officers, so that money could be used for overtime or to replace old and out of service equipment. We can do a variety of things instead of spending so much money of people who break the law. That money can be put to better use than what it was."

Chief Henson sees this as not just cutting costs but also trying to do what's best for the community. "We're trying to do the right thing. The taxpayers and the good people of Trumann expect when someone goes to jail, it's like punishment. People shouldn't go to receive special perks," he said.

And the money saved stays in Trumann. "The meals we buy are still bought locally," Henson said. "The money we save and spend still stays in Trumann."

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