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Maricopa County inmates may soon pay for meals

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County jail system may start charging inmates a daily fee for meals.

According to ABC15, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said that the estimated 8,300 inmates in county tents and jails will be charged $1 every day for meal costs by the beginning of March. Arpaio explained that this increase in meal prices has been a result of decreased donations. Meals previously cost inmates 60 cents per day.

“The food banks are hurting, they’re not getting donations and we are not getting the donations we used to,” said Arpaio. “A dollar a day isn’t that much, I mean that’s what it costs to feed the inmates now.”

Arpaio added that jail accounts would be an alternative solution to the system’s financial concerns. By putting these accounts into place, inmates who receive money from family and friends would be charged for their day-to-day meal expense.

“We’re going to make sure we use that money before they [inmates] go to the canteen to buy some chocolate bars,” Arpaio explained.

Arpaio noted that inmates unable to pay the fee will still be provided meals.