Skip to comments.Special-order Pizza Delivered To Inmates' Cells
Posted on 02/13/2003 3:13:31 PM PST by Sweet_Sunflower29
It's hard to believe: Piping hot pizza, delivered right to prisoners in their cells.
The Washington Department of Corrections has started offering murderers, rapists, and drug dealers comfort foods from the outside world.
They can pick pepperoni, Hawaiian, vegetable, cheese, hamburger or a combination of those.
Prisoners at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton just put their name, prison ID number, and what type of custom-order pizza they want on a form. Before long, Domino's delivers.
Domino's Pizza in Shelton recently had a huge order to fill: 150 pizzas for prisoners. The pies weren't for inmates to purchase by the slice at the mess hall. The custom pizzas went right to the private cells of any inmate who could come up with $12.
"To me, it's just incomprehensible," says Jenny Wieland.
Wieland runs a support group for victims of crime. She says if prisoners have extra money, the state should make them first pay off their court-ordered restitution and victims' compensation fees.
"It's a way for them to say 'screw you' to the system. Look what we're doing. I don't think they really care, care about being charitable. They just care about getting their pizza," she said.
KIRO Team 7 Investigators learned of the plan from an internal memo which reads "Finally, Dominos Pizza has come to WCC."
Our undercover team watched Domino's employees on this day roll dough, throw pepperoni and bake large pizzas. Nobody from the state supervised the process. The pizzas then went via a red Domino's delivery SUV, right to the prison gates.
Domino's manager, Sheila Rude says guards x-rayed each pizza for contraband.
"Due to the scanner, you could almost see what the topping were. Nothing was going to get through," rude said. The Corrections Officer Union says the pizza program is a security concern. Plus, it puts guards in an uncomfortable position -- serving inmates they supervise.
Public opinion leans heavy against the idea of pizza for prisoners.
"It sounds absolutely ridiculous to me." "Wow, what a luxury! They can order any kind of pizza they want?" "More power to 'em, man. Everybody loves pizza." "People who have committed pretty serious crimes get pizza? That doesn't seem right to me." "That'd be a great way for me to smuggle some stuff in, calling up my buddy at Dominos you know, 'I need some crack and cheese.'"
According to another internal state memo labeled "a mission for restorative justice," this pizza program was approved as an ongoing charity fundraiser. A couple bucks from each pizza was sent to a pair of local non-profit organizations. We checked. One helps battered women, the other AIDS prisoners' families.
We couldn't get an on-camera response from the Washington Department of Corrections about their pizza for prisoners program, but they tell us on the phone: the project went so well, they will probably do it again next month.
Jenny Wieland, whose daughter was murdered, isn't against the idea of charity -- but also doesn't believe pizza-eating inmates have charitable motives in mind.
"Even if its only $12 for a pizza, the $12 could be going toward the victim they've harmed," Wieland said.
The Washington Department of Corrections has allowed similar food fundraisers in the past, but this is the first time guards have been told that pizza will be delivered on a regular basis.
The jails also have extremely limited internet access.
I'll stay elsewhere, thanks.
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