Premier Brad Wall not waffling on jail food comments

A food protest is underway at the Regina Correctional Centre with more than 100 inmates refusing their trays.

Food protest underway at Regina Correctional Centre

Here's a typical meal that inmates would be served at the Regina Correctional Centre, according to the provincial government.

With a dig about weekday waffles, Premier Brad Wall is indicating limited sympathy for Regina Correctional Centre prisoners complaining about the food.

On Thursday, more than 100 inmates with concerns about food quality were refusing to take their meal trays.

Asked by reporters for his reaction, Wall said he does not believe there is a problem with the food at the jail.

Inmates are refusing food trays at the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre. (CBC)

"I've seen the menu. And I don't know very many of my constituents that get waffles on a weekday morning, whether they're a little soggy or not," Wall said. 

"And the same is true for a lot of the other menu items."

Food prepared by private company

The government has a contract with a private company, Compass Group Canada, to provide food services at the provincial jails — something the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union has previously taken issue with. 

Bob Bymoen, president of SGEU, which represents the jail guards, said the food quality issue is also an employee safety issue.

"Our workers are on the front end of this and they have to deal with safety issues and also if there's issues around illness and other impacts of the diet in there, they have a direct impact on how the inmates act, not only during meal time but during the rest of the day," Bymoen said.

Previous complaints heard about jail food

It's not the first time concerns have been raised.

An inmate who contacted CBC News last month said prisoners were being fed expired food and meat that's not cooked enough.

A justice ministry spokesperson told CBC at the time that he was looking into the inmates concerns.

Jail food was one of a number of topics Wall was asked about at the Saskatchewan Legislature on Thursday.

The government says nobody has gotten sick over food quality issues.

Meanwhile, Wall said in addition to inspecting the menu, he has eaten food prepared by Compass.

"I'm pretty comfortable that inmates are getting a pretty good choice first of all, and pretty high quality food," he said.

"And you know ... if you really don't like the prison food, there's one way to avoid it and that's don't go to prison."


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