Here comes word (Herald-Sun, News and Observer) that the county commissioners have approved a new contract for inmate meal preparation and food service at the Durham jail. With so many writings and drawings at amplifyvoices addressing food, we would be remiss to not acknowledge this news.
Some may think this decision was made in the halls of government. And the choice of which company (ABL Management) certainly was, especially as the decision casts the sheriff’s office, the county commissioners and the health department in a positive light for suddenly seeming to care about nutrition and food palatability, cleanliness, and inmate training (as vaguely presented ). But this decision, that removes Aramark as the food service provider at the Durham County Detention Facility after 20 consecutive years, was made by the many, many detainees who have filed grievances, refused food as individuals and in groups, and bravely spoken their piece about the inadequacies of the food they are served while confined at the jail. A dubious victory, perhaps, in terms of ‘improvement,’ but a victory nonetheless. It should open our eyes to our power inside and outside the jail walls, at the same time as it reminds those cops and pols who seek to brandish their human rights credentials that they stand on shaky ground.