About 20 percent of the County Jail inmate population conducted a two-day hunger strike that concluded this Monday afternoon in part to voice displeasure with the small meal portions served by Aramark, the jail’s new food vendor as of eight months ago. Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover said Aramark is more consistent in the size of its portions and that some inmates have objected to that and the taste of the food. She declined to identify groups or individuals who may have been involved, citing security considerations. She noted that many of the food strikers bought food from the jail’s canteen while boycotting the chow line.
According to the loved one of one jail inmate, the strike came in response to small portions and poor quality but was also indirectly sparked by inmate frustration over the new jail’s new policy — also driven by security concerns — not to accept any mail but postcards. Hoover said Aramark’s portions exceed the minimum nutrition guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When Aramark was chosen as the jail vendor, it was projected the company — a major industrial food service provider throughout the nation — would save the county $180,000. Hoover said it remains too soon to say whether the company will fulfill that expectation. Last May, she said the jail received three complaints from inmates about the food. This May, Hoover said there were five complaints, but four originated with one inmate.