Jail Spent Almost $11,000 on Fillet Steaks and Chocolate for Prison Cookery Class

An investigation has been launched after an Irish jail was found to have spent almost $11,000 on luxury food items for a prison cookery class.

Fillet steaks, prosciutto ham and chocolates were among some of the items which cost 9,000 Euros ($10,585) at the prison in Ireland.

Now an inquest has been launched to find out exactly who sanctioned the purchase of high value food for the prison kitchen, which is against Irish Prison service policy.

The anomaly was flagged up by a Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) report on catering in prisons.

Although the spending watchdog does not name which prison was responsible for breaching the rules, the food is said to have been bought for cookery classes for prisoners.

However, it is understood the prison service has been unable to determine exactly what activity was taking place or if there were "official events catered for using some of the products."

It is understood that the C&AG has examined the catering service for prisoner meals, staff mess committees and prison shops.

A crust and money
File photograph of a crust of bread full of money. A jail spent almost $11,000 on luxury food items for cookery classes for prisoners. Getty

The cost of food per prisoner ranged from $5.34 (4.54 Euros) to $8.55 (7.27 Euros) per day and the spending on the luxury goods was uncovered as part of an examination of the training in catering program, reported The Irish Independent.

Food is prepared in prisons by staff and inmates themselves and the ingredients used in cookery classes are usually drawn from the same list as those used to prepare meals throughout the day.

The C&AG report said that in one prison, products purchased included luxury items like "fillet steaks, rib roasts, boneless legs of lamb, prosciutto and expensive catering chocolate."

It adds: "The Governor of the prison concerned has now commenced an investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the expenditure."

The cost of such items purchased in the prison came to €9,302 over 2018 and 2019 and they were reported to be "used to support the provision of cookery classes to prisoners," reported the news outlet.

However, the C&AG report added: "It has not been possible from the work training activity returns to Prison Service headquarters, to be definitive on what activity was taking place, or if there were official events catered for using some of the products listed."

The watchdog said extra controls have since been put in place and the prison service has agreed that all food purchased for training purposes should be ordered from approved suppliers and reflect the aim of teaching basic cookery skills to prisoners.