The DUH Files: NEVER eat inmate-handled food

Jun 5th, 2014 | By | Category: Health and Safety, Inmate Labor, Officer Safety, Paco's Podium, Parole, Spotlight

Tainted tales, Telling ‘taints

“Don’t spit in that cop’s burger”

It doesn't take a Super Trooper to know food prepared by strangers has its risks.

It doesn’t take Super Troopers to know food prepared by strangers has its risks. 

Cook facing charges for licking parole officers’ sandwiches

Dr. Doug Powell | barfblog

…Yolanda Arguello, a 59-year-old who was working at the South Valley New Mexico Women’s Recovery Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, would secretly lick the sandwiches she would serve to probation and parole officers.

“She’s accused of licking the cheese on sandwiches, serving ice dropped on the floor, and even sucking on an ice cube then spitting it into an officer’s cup. … She faces three counts of battery on a police officer.”

Arguello’s colleagues turned her in after they say they witnessed the gross food prep.

According to a criminal complaint posted by The Smoking Gun, one witness supposedly overheard Arguello say, “I don’t work for Probation/Parole, I don’t have to serve them. I will show them who is special, better than others.” (barfblog 6/4/14)

This item reminded me of several incidents involving inmates mishandling food.

Several of our original readers worked with Paco at the California Institution for Women in 1984 when word got out the Supervising Cook running the bakery crew had observed an inmate defecating in a mixer bowl containing the bread dough. The inmate was shuffled off to Administrative Segregation, the general population demanded commercial bread and staff were implicitly reminded not to eat food from the “Village Cafeteria.”

In the late 80’s I was assigned to the Main Kitchen at Mule Creek State Prison. The kitchen stands beside the Prison Industries Authority “Meat Plant” where raw meats were processed into cold cuts for the GP and distribution to other facilities–A concrete wall, 2 slammer doors and a work-change post keep the operations separate and secure.

One day, as the kitchen shift was ending, I contacted the workchange officer to coordinate processing the kitchen crew back to the yard. He then informed me the PIA crew was being held over so it was a good time to strip out my crew. However, he thought it was a good idea to tell me why PIA was being held over before releasing the kitchen crew.

Well, it turns out the Supervising Cook noticed an inmate gratifying himself inside a bologna loaf–Cooked on large rolling racks, cold-cut loaves are allowed to cool on the racks prior to refrigeration. Without going into all the glorious detail, the inmate had been doing this for months. He advised a warm bologna loaf was “like the real thing” and, once finished, it closed right up as if it were “still a virgin.” Staff were, again, implicitly reminded not to eat inmate-handled food.

So, the crew was held back to sanitize the cooling staging area and, mainly, to give the loaf-loving inmate time to return to his unit, unescorted, with orders he be confined to quarters (CTQ). Now, both the work-change officer and I agreed that was a mistake. This guy needed to be moved to escorted directly to ADSEG before word hit the yard.

Soon enough, inmates were grouping outside the baloney-bopper’s housing unit and it was a little over 5 minutes until the next unlock–Whether he was CTQ’d or not, it was going to be a nightmare moving him to ADSEG once the buildings were open to the yard for 10 minutes. Words was out.

Fortunately, a quick call from my sergeant to the Program Lieutenant, who the PIA supervisor had neglected to bring into the loop, led to a radio call to Central Services. Both the S&E cadre and Security Squad hit the yard, the unlock was delayed, and the serial salami spanker was escorted into his new, temporary, digs well ahead of the angry villagers and their MAC reps.

Unfortunately, the Food Services Manager ignored my Sergeant’s advice that bologna sandwiches be removed from the sack lunches already packaged for the distribution to the 3 yards after chow the next morning–As the inmates returned from breakfast with their sack lunches, they tossed the bologna sandwiches along the track. By 1000 hours, word had spread to the gull community down at the nearby Amador County Dump. The folks at the dump must’ve wondered why all the flying rats were gone. It was a mess.

Finally, my favorite story comes from my dear friend, and founding CCOA/CCPOA leader, Tom Marich.

Tom recounts how, as the Kitchen Sergeant at what was then called YTS (Youth Training School) near Chino, he caught a young man “f*cking the hell out of a chicken in the break-out box” (walk-in refrigerator where meat is thawed) as 2 other inmates looked on.

Tommy's F*cked Chicken

Chicken for special managers only.

Tom barked to the inmates, “You get that mop bucket filled with pine disinfectant and mop up the main floor. You, get that pallet of flour off the floor and into the pantry now. And YOU, as soon as you’re done f*cking that chicken, I wan’t to see you in my office.” The inmate was written up and reassigned out of Tom’s kitchen.

Now, like all good CPO’s, Tom is the first to admit his stories, while not quite embellished, improve with age.

So, as he recounts, the Superintendent was dining with the Director in the staff dining room and hoped to show off by treating the bombastic then-union steward like a waiter.

After taking several cheap shots at Marich, the Superintendent asked Tom about the specials.

For the Director, who knew and liked Marich, Tom advised, “You can’t go wrong with the Salisbury steak and potatoes.”

“For you,” He told the Superintendent, “I recommend the chicken.” –

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2 Comments to “The DUH Files: NEVER eat inmate-handled food”

  1. Howie Katz says:

    In 1969-70, when I was on the faculty of Sam Houston State University, I volunteered to conduct group therapy sessions for trouble-making inmates at the Ferguson Unit of the Texas prison system. I decided to brown-bag it after I was warned not to eat the chow provided to correctional officers and other prison workers because the inmates who worked in the staff kitchen would often spit and, from time to time, jack off, piss and even shit onto the meals they were preparing. That did not stop most correctional officers from chomping down the free chow.

    In this particular case, it appears the offending cook was a paid civilian employee who, for some reason, had a strong dislike for New Mexico’s probation/parole officers. I suspect her dislike will be even greater once she comes under their supervision.

  2. FXSTC1 says:

    Just to state the obvious: I would not go to a restaurant that employed parolees as cooks. That’s just me. I don’t want to hamper anyone’s chances to obtain employment and I don’t think that if all PA’s followed this example that it would affect much of anything. Plenty of parolees over the years have asked me to eat where they cooked but I never have. I did see a parolee cooking at a very popular restaurant once about 30 years ago. I decided to eat elsewhere. I talked to his Agent about it, not realizing that he did not know that his guy was cooking. It turned out that he had Hep C and had recently tested positive for heroin. I have had many meals at Galt but I believe the supervision there and the transparency (please forgive the word) of the kitchen made me feel comfortable.