Bossier Sheriff Larry Deen says, with the last peas being picked, the harvest of crops is about to come to an end at the Bossier Sheriff’s Office property near Plain Dealing and at the Bossier Minimum Security Facility (formerly known as the Bossier Parish Penal Farm).
“As of today, thousands of pounds of vegetables have been harvested,” said Deen. “Those vegetables are being used to feed the inmate population in our three corrections facilities, which amounts to a significant savings for taxpayers.”
With the use of inmate labor, the process started in February with the planting of potatoes. Then, in April, corn, tomatoes, squash and other vegetables were planted. So far, 30-50 boxes of tomatoes, 1,200 ears of corn, 3,600 pounds of potatoes and 1,200 gallons of peas have been put away and will be served to the 1,200-1,300 inmates who are being held in the maximum, medium and minimum security lock-ups.
The combined yearly food bill for all three Bossier Parish corrections facilities is approximately $740,000 (roughly $130,000 at the Bossier Minimum Security Facility, about $386,000 at the Bossier Medium Security Facility and around $224,000 at the Bossier Maximum Security Facility). Without the vegetable supplements, the price tag would be approximately $775,000, meaning the program is saving taxpayers an estimated $35,000 a year. Since 1995, when the program began, Deen estimates as much as $500,000 taxpayer dollars may have been saved on the food bill for inmates.