Kitchen coming to jail

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Dept. officials will proceed with plansfor an inmate-operated kitchen after consulting with the board ofsupervisors Monday.

Because the needed funds are in the sheriff’s department budget,the board did not have to approve the kitchen plan. They did,however, have to approve the sheriff’s use of the Department ofWildlife, Fisheries and Parks building as a location for thekitchen.

The jail kitchen will be located in the rear of the building inan area reserved for the county when the building was leased to theconservation agency.

The board approved the location after Sheriff Wiley Calcote saidthe fire marshal had already inspected it and ruled that it wassufficient for their needs.

Calcote said he would begin work on the renovation immediatelywhile shopping for the best purchase price on the necessaryequipment.

Calcote and Jail Warden Joe Price first mentioned the plan tofeed inmates last month. The topic was tabled after a lengthydiscussion because the board wanted to consult with Board AttorneyBob Allen on a few legal issues.

Allen questioned the cost of the equipment and renovations andsaid the sheriff would have to seek additional price quotes beforeapproving any purchases.

The total cost of the setting up the kitchen has been estimatedat $20,000, Calcote said. Most of the renovation work would beconducted by the inmates, although some specialists may berequired.

“We’ll have to have someone come in for the electrical work,”the sheriff said.

Allen also questioned whether the kitchen would require anadditional employee to oversee it.

Price said he would be the supervising cook. When he acceptedthe warden’s job, Price said, he knew the cook position would be”one of my many hats.” He is already overseeing the meals that arebrought in under the sheriff’s department contract with ValleyServices, which currently prepares and delivers hot meals to thejail.

Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop cautioned the sheriff that he maybe letting himself in for more trouble than he thinks. He cited histime in the restaurant business.

“It takes a lot of your time,” he said.

Calcote responded that he knew what was expected and had thoughtabout the kitchen for several years.

“It’s something that I’ve studied for the past three years, evenbefore I became sheriff,” he said. “I’ve always wondered why weweren’t already doing this with the money that can be saved. I’mcomfortable with it. There are a few things we need to work out, asMr. Allen suggested, but I’m confident this will save the countymoney.”

“I believe in y’all. I believe it can be done,” said District 1Supervisor the Rev. Jerry Wilson. The supervisors all nodded inagreement or made similar remarks.

Allen wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as the board, but admittedthe project had possibilities.

“I think he’s buying a lot of headaches,” he said. “But, I getpaid to look for bad things and not happy endings.”

The board really had nothing to approve, Allen said.

“You aren’t waiting on us if it’s in your budget,” he said.