A new look for the old jail kitchen

By Doug Walker – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Back in October, the kitchen at the Harrison County jail looked like a disaster zone.  Rotted out floors, plugged up drains, and antiquated equipment.  Dangerous and dank conditions with meals being served from a portable trailer.

Fast forward to today, and you're looking at something entirely different.  New floors, a new drain system, new equipment, and new cold storage units.  Not to mention a new perspective.

Kevin Fish oversees the operation of the kitchen.  "We're very happy to be back in here." Fish said.  "We served 3500 meals a day out of the back of a semi for three and a half months in some of the coldest weather we've had in Mississippi in a long time."

Inmates help prepare the meals, using new boilers, but still relying on old fashioned methods for other tasks. The days food preparation done under the watchful eye of  Fish, who uses a hands on approach to the job.

After nearly three months of serving simple fare, such as sandwiches, the folks working in the Harrison County jail in the new state of the art kitchen are ecstatic.  They're serving real food with real value and it's made a real difference in inmate morale, according to deputy warden Major Phil Taylor, who tells WLOX News. "It's increased it for sure, the inmates will be getting hot meals three times a day, better meals as opposed to those quick meals from the mobile kitchen."

Fish says while the temporary food was OK, this is much better.  "We were able to provide them with the calories they needed over this entire time but the variety of food and the quality of food, they're very happy to have us back here in the kitchen.

And it's a kitchen that has been built for the future, Fish says.  "When this kitchen was built, it had a 20 year shelf life, it had cast iron pipes that you know are going to rot out, and the decisions they made, the way they rebuilt it, this thing will last for about 50 years."

Another 50 years of good, nutritious food for county inmates.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.