PLAINFIELD, Ind., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Indiana prison officials say they're cutting back on inmate lunches to give them more classroom and recreational time.
Civil rights organizations are skeptical of the benefits of a pilot program in Hendricks County, Ind., to eliminate lunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but prison officials contend that's how the inmates want it, The Indianapolis Star reported Sunday.
Saying prisoners want more time for study and recreation, Indiana Department of Correction spokesman Doug Garrison told newspaper, "Serving meals is a time-consuming effort that takes hours. By eliminating one meal, we are able to operate our programs more efficiently."
Kevin Mulroony, Plainfield Correctional spokesman, told the Star that combining breakfast and lunch provides the same calories (2,500) as three meals and also frees up weekends for education classes, religious services and family visits for the inmates.
"Denying food or cutting back on meals is beneath the dignity of the state of Indiana and is not in sync with our Hoosier values," countered state Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel. "It is my hope that the corrections officials will come before us and reassure us that they are treating the prisoners in a humane way."