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September 19, 2012

County Commissioners: Consultant hired to review jail food

NEW CASTLE — Coffee and cake may be disappearing from the food offerings at the Lawrence County jail.

The county commissioners Tuesday hired Adagio Health of Pittsburgh for $50 per month to review nutritional needs and calorie intake of prisoners to ensure they are receiving adequate nutrition.

According to David Gettings, county controller and chairman of the prison board, this service had been provided free by the U.S. Food Service. However, because of new state regulations, that agency will no longer provide that service.

Gettings, who made the request, said, “The state requires that we monitor the nutritional offerings ... and monitor the calorie intake to ensure (the prisoners) are receiving a balanced diet.”

Although many larger jails are hiring dietitians as part of their staff, Gettings said, “we can’t do that for $600.”

The vote was 2-1, with Bob Del Signore opposed.

“We’re giving prisoners at the jail better treatment inside than the rest of us get on the outside,” he said.

Del Signore noted the average citizen has no one to monitor his diet.

“I want to see that the food we are providing meets the immediate nutritional support and nothing else,” Commissioner Steve Craig said.

Craig asked what foods being provided serve little or no benefit.

Chairman Dan Vogler asked that Adagio review the menu and report the findings to the prison board.

Gettings also told the commissioners that following the most recent inspection last year, the county jail received a 100 percent rating.

This high rating is important, Gettings said, because it not only allows the county to skip a year of inspections, but means no money will have to be spent to make remediations.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners reviewed four contracts for early intervention program services provided by Lawrence County Mental Health and Developmental Services.

They plan to vote on these contracts at their next meeting, which will be 6 p.m. Monday at the South New Castle Borough Volunteer Fire Hall.

Vogler noted the commissioners’ meeting date was changed to Monday for next week so it would not interfere with the bingo games sponsored by the department.

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