Government wants private sector to handle jail food

Saskatchewan's Ministry of Corrections wants to get out of the business of preparing meals for people in jails, and is looking for a private sector provider — a move that could affect 62 unionized government workers.

Move could affect 62 unionized government workers

The Regina Correctional Centre is located just outside the northeast city limits. (CBC)

Saskatchewan's Ministry of Corrections wants to get out of the business of preparing meals for people in jails, and is looking for a private sector provider — a move that could affect 62 unionized government workers.

The proposed change follows an internal review which determined that food service is not a core function of the ministry.

There are four provincial correctional facilities in the province and three youth detention facilities where government staff make the meals.

The union which represents the workers disagrees with the government's logic for privatizing the service.

"How is feeding inmates not a core function of the Ministry of Corrections?" Bob Bymoen, president of SGEU, said Tuesday. "This type of logic suggests that government is going to extreme lengths to reduce public services and public service workers regardless of the consequences to those affected."

According to Bymoen, going to a private sector model would increase costs because the service would also need to generate a profit. Bymoen also expressed concerns about security.

The province says it has only just begun the process to find a food service provider and any changes would not take place until the fall of 2014.

The Regina Jail is one of four provincial corrections facilities. There are also three youth detention facilities run by the province. (CBC)

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