CLINTON—Anderson County Sheriff Paul White and his challenger, Anthony Lay, have had a feud over the food served at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton.
The feud started with a June 26 press release by Lay, a Republican challenging White, a Democrat, in the August 7 election. Lay said the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department appears to be operating a bakery, and he has suggested inmates are eating cookies and cobbler, and pies and pudding.
If elected, Lay said, he would “cut the fiscal fat from the sheriff’s jail budget by cutting out the pie.”
“Jail will be a jail, not a hotel or bakery,” said Lay, a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper.
A few days later, White responded in a statement that said “inaccurate and misleading information” was being circulated in the campaign for sheriff.
“The jail does not operate a ‘bakery,’” said White, who is running for his third four-year term as sheriff.
The jail menus are “quite conservative,” White said, and the average meal costs $1.10.
The Sheriff’s Department has provided copies of jail menus and given Oak Ridge Today a tour of the jail kitchen, food storage areas, and coolers and freezers. Corrections officers said the jail menus are approved by a nutritionist at the Anderson County Health Department, and they meet the standards set by the Tennessee Corrections Institute.
Lay has cited order sheets that he said show orders for apple and cherry pie filling, cobbler crust dough, pumpkin and pecan pies, pudding, and ice cream. “The proof is in the pie,” he said.
White and correctional officers said inmates may receive pie as a humanitarian gesture at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But it’s not an everyday-occurrence, and inmates are not fed doughnuts, cookies, or other desserts, White said. Jailers did acknowledge serving baked apples over cobbler crust, “a more filling meal,” as part of the state-approved menu.
Oak Ridge Today has received copies of four weeks’ worth of jail menus and food order sheets during a one-year period from June 30, 2013 to June 30, 2014. The documents were provided by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and Anderson County Purchasing Department, and they are being published here. There is also a Feb. 3 letter from Anderson County Nutritionist Patty Campbell at the Anderson County Health Department, who approved the jail menus she reviewed.
The Purchasing Department said the order sheets are for Borden Dairy, Institutional Wholesale Company, and Reinhart Foodservice.
Here is the nutritionist’s letter and three weeks’ worth of menus: Jail Menus and Nutritionist Letter.
Here is the Borden Dairy order: Borden Dairy Orders.
Here is the Institutional Wholesale Company order: Institutional Wholesale Company.
Here is the Reinhart Foodservice order: Reinhart Food Service Orders.
See our previous story, which includes an additional menu, here.