Food, health care for Garfield County Jail inmates to cost $1.1 million

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Garfield County estimates it will spend about $1,161,000 for food and medical services for its inmates in 2010.

The Board of County Commissioners recently approved contracts with two agencies, one governmental and the other private, to handle those services.

According to the contract information provided to the commissioners, the food services at the Garfield County Jail will be handled by the Colorado Department of Corrections, Division of Correctional Industries, located in Canon City, at a cost of approximately $160,000.

But the meals themselves, according to Randy Hollandsworth, director of county corrections, are prepared in a commercial kitchen by the inmates at the Rifle Correctional Center, a minimum-security state correctional facility opened in 1969 that houses roughly 190 inmates. The county jail itself, opened in 2005 in Glenwood Springs, was built to house 198 inmates.

The Rifle Correctional inmates work under a contract of the state Department of Corrections and get paid for their work, Hollandsworth said.

The contract calls for menus that are reviewed and approved annually by a registered dietitian, and special dietary needs of prisoners will be met if there is appropriate documentation to support the inmate’s request, according to the contract language.

The county is charged $3.25 for a “standard meal,” or $4.50 for a “kosher meal,” under the contract, although Hollandsworth reported, “To my knowledge, we’ve never had to utilize that part of the contract.”

He said the prepared hot dinners generally are delivered around 4 p.m. to the jail in Glenwood Springs, for service that evening, along with the next day’s breakfasts and sack lunches.

County contract administrator Kent Long, in a memo to the commissioners, estimated that the jail typically only uses about 80 percent of its annual budgetary allocation for food. Long said that is primarily because the jail is not full, or even close to full, much of the year, a situation that the budget cannot assume.

For medical services, the county is contracting with the private firm Correctional Health Care Management, headquartered in Greenwood Village, at a cost of just over $1 million.

The contract calls for health care providers including nurses, a doctor and medical director, and a social worker, to be on hand at different times throughout the week.

The total number of health care workers, according to information in the contract documents, amounts to 6.95 “full-time equivalent” employees, performing a total of 278 hours of work per week.

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