Grand Jury Examines Food at Main Jail

The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury has issued a report that finds meals at the county’s Main Jail meet state standards and provide a reasonable variety of nutritionally balanced food. The report is a response to controversy last summer over changes to jail food service. These changes resulted in prisoner and family complaints.

In an effort to cut costs, the Sheriff’s Office awarded a contract to Aramark Corporation in 2012. Aramark reduced food service costs by $85,000 in the first year of a multi-year contract, according to Sheriff’s officials. Prisoners complained about portion size, food taste and appearance, and the frequent use of soy products.

In addition, prisoners complained that the jail commissary prices are inordinately high. However, the Grand Jury found that prices are in line with area convenience stores.

The entire report can be found on the Grand Jury’s website at

The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury is a basic part of state government within the judicial branch. The Grand Jury is charged with keeping watch over county government as well as cities and districts operating within the county.

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