Happiness isn’t always easy. But I’ve found that it’s tied pretty tightly with the idea of forward mobility. A full life consists of happiness gained from self improvement. And in turn, I think that a full stomach is part of that full life. But this is exactly what made me so concerned about an article I read today. I chanced on it while looking for information about food. But what I found was an example of what happens when food is kept away from the people who need it.
The article was about the prison system. And far from being written by someone from afar, it was actually authored by a prisoner. He had a lot to say about how poor food quality was keeping him down. Images of prison gruel danced in my mind before he clarified the issue. It turns out that the problematic meals were coming from something called the Keefe Group. To be sure, the prison system should take some blame. But only in the sense of not pushing for better standards.
It’s the Keefe Group itself which is actually providing the low quality food. The prison system contracts out with them. In itself, this is actually a brilliant solution. Prisons need to provide the lowest common denominator in meals. But prisons can contract out to companies like the Keefe Group who will sell higher quality food.
But that’s the exact issue. They do sell different food, but it’s hardly better. Instead it tends to be very low quality items. Basically the Keefe Group just marks up the cost of junk food and sells it to prisoners. Meanwhile they use fresh fruits and vegetables in their advertising.
Of course the prison administration takes some blame for not actually holding the Keefe Group to higher standards. And as much as the Keefe Group should be held responsible, they’re just a business. A business will almost always cut corners unless prohibited from doing so.
This is why it’s good to hear that pressure is starting to get applied to prison administration. Task forces are investigating the issue and suggesting that a forced bid system be put into place. This would force actual competition for prison contracts. And it’d make the Keefe Group need to actually improve their services to win against competition.