Jails are on budgets too!


I recently read about a jail in Maryland cutting back on supplies for prisoners. The ideas included limiting inmates to three rolls of toilet paper and two bars of soap per week. I've been trying to figure out how much toilet paper and soap I use each week, and those limits sound like more than enough to me.

Now jails in Wisconsin are cutting costs by removing items from the menu. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches no longer have the jelly. The Milwaukee County Jail is likely going to cut dessert out of its daily menus. Some of the hot meals will now become (cheaper) cold meals.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke makes a good point: "As long as the taxpayers have to struggle with rising food costs and eat more Hamburger Helper, as long as they have to adjust their living and eating habits, why should they have to pay increased costs for people who have disregarded society's rules?"

Jails around Wisconsin admit they're doing things like cutting back on meat and limiting the amount of bread prisoners are allowed to have. And I think this policy is fine, as long as the prisoners are getting adequate nutrition each day. Sorry, but jail and prison are not fine dining establishments. Prisoners deserve adequate amounts of food and proper nutrition, no more and no less.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.