Juvenile lockup increases portion size and nutrition of meals

School Lunches (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) – Shawnee County is feeding its juvenile inmates more after finding behavior improves when portion sizes increase.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that in July the corrections department tried out doubling the portion size of the meals it serves youth detained at the Shawnee County Juvenile Detention Center. As part of the experiment, the sugary snack provided each evening was replaced with fresh fruit.

County corrections department spokesman Maj. Tim Phelps says staff members saw a noticeable improvement in the behavior and educational program performance of the youths.

A state grant is covering the $3,000 cost of providing more food in August and September. Corrections officials say they’ll ask county commissioners next month to continue the arrangement for a full year, with a grant available to cover the $16,000 cost.

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