Deer meat could be served behind bars - - Jackson, MS

Deer meat could be served behind bars

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Deer meat on the menu behind bars is a possibility if one bill makes it through the legislative process. 

The bill has been dubbed the "Venison Harvesting Program for Inmate Consumption".

It cleared the first hurdle yesterday when the House Corrections Committee passed it unanimously. 

Use it or lose it is how some lawmakers are looking at the proposed venison for inmates bill. Rankin County is skeptical of how it could fit in with their operations. 

Chief Deputy Eddie Thompson says it seems to provide more questions than answers.

"How we gonna process it?," asked Thompson. "How we gonna package it? How we gonna make it good for the health department?"

They follow strict nutrition and safety guidelines for inmate meals. Venison isn't on the list now.

"We've got a real good program going with Valley Food at a cheap rate for meals," explained Thompson.

It costs $1.56 a day to feed an inmate in the Rankin County jail now. Deputies wonder how venison would alter that. 

A donation system also wouldn't be a guaranteed source.

"You wouldn't know how much quantity was coming in at a certain time," Thompson said. "So you really couldn't base a monthly meal count for the inmates."

From a hunting stand point, hunter Todd Sarotte at Van's Sporting Goods admits he sometimes has more deer meat than he knows what to do with.

"My family's small," Sarotte said. "One deer will feed us for quite a while and it fills up most of my storage."

That's where donations sometimes come into play.

"I think you should use it and not let it go to waste," said Sarotte. "That way other families benefit from it."

But even those on the Corrections Committee like Rep. Bill Pigot-R aren't sure of the details for making those donations to a correctional facility.

"Some unanswered questions that need to be worked out, all dealing with different state agencies as far as the inspection," pointed out Pigot. "Food safety issues have got to be addressed too."

Venison does not fall under the purview of the USDA or the Department of Agriculture as it relates to inspections. So, those safety issues are still questions that would have to be addressed.

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