Aramark will deliver three meals a day, seven days a week to inmates until 2019, using the existing food services program — with inmate crews preparing the food at the jail — but will bring in food from off-site during kitchen construction next year.
Most of the 1971 facility’s aging sewer system has deteriorated to the point of replacement, including the area underneath the jail’s kitchen. During construction to replace the sewer system, the county has to remodel the kitchen and bring it up to code.
The contract includes a $600,000 investment toward the construction, and will save the county $180,000 a year over its current costs, according to Sheriff’s Department Lt. Mark Mahurin, who spent the better part of a year working on the agreement.
Aramark is an international company that provides food services for correctional facilities, events centers and universities, among other things.
Inmates get three meals a day — at around 3 a.m., 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. — and Aramark also will provide food for the Sheriff’s Department staff at the Main Jail.
“The reality of how we have to run a jail to get everyone where they need to go in a given day means the day starts fairly early,” Mahurin said.
There are about 1,000 inmates at any time, many who have to be transported to Superior Court by 8 a.m. in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc every weekday.
Aramark will oversee the inmate work crews and provide basic food safety and health training.
There will be at least two “spirit-lifter meals” on Thanksgiving and Christmas for inmates, and meals for staff members will “exceed” the inmate meal service, according to the contract.
Costs are broken down to 94 cents per regular inmate meal, $3.22 per special inmate meal and $3.23 per staff meal, for the total of $1.25 million per year, though the cost likely will increase for the construction period when all food has to be delivered service-ready from off-site, Mahurin said.