Christmas Presents for Aspen Inmates

The tradition of making Christmas as pleasant as possible for the inmates at the Pitkin County jail continues. Deputy Sheriff and jail administrator Don Bird says the inmates will not only get their special Christmas day meals, but also wake up to little presents outside their cell door.

[P]roviding good food and a couple of small gifts for those who are incarcerated goes a long way toward helping morale at what can be an exceptionally hard time of the year.

“Nobody’s getting anything pricey,” Bird said. “It’s just something that somebody can get on Christmas so [when] they get up in the morning, there’s something outside their door.”


For example:

A local merchant, who did not want to be identified because they thought their employees would not approve, dropped off some skin care-related items and some sweets Friday afternoon.

Pitkin County jail food is prepared all year round by the Aspen Valley Hospital and the inmates get the same meals as hospital patients. For Christmas this year, lunch is:

[B]utternut-squash soup, prime rib, baked potato, vegetable medley and caramel apple pie.

Bird explains:

A predominate jail goal is behavior management. If officers can help to improve someone’s mind, and maybe their overall circumstances, while they’re inside, that benefits both the inmates and the jail environment.

Dinner is:

[H]oney-glazed ham, scalloped potatoes, dinner roll, green beans and a holiday cookie.

There are currently 18 inmates at the jail.

This week, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released its annual report on the U.S. Prison Population. There are 1.6 million people in our jails and prisons. The war on drugs has largely contributed to our status as the world's largest incarcerator.

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  • Display: Sort:
    i wish (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by The Addams Family on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 01:46:24 PM EST
    that this decent & humane behavior could be extended every day to everyone incarcerated in our prisons & jails

    even more, i wish that our prisons could be reserved only for violent people who truly must be separated from the general population, & that in those facilities such people could be afforded a decent & humane environment, with opportunities to engage in constructive interactions & activities

    that is my New Year's wish

    it'll change (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by jondee on Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 12:28:52 PM EST
    around the time that cynical, grandstanding pols, judges and aspiring prosecutors appealing to the festering resentment of angry white people by talking about the "coddling of criminals" stops being viable.  

    Squash soup, prime rib, baked potato, apple pie... (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 04:49:15 PM EST
    Gotta wonder how Sheriff Joe would manage that on eight cents.

    This sounds better (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 10:16:01 AM EST
    than most homeless people in America have it.

    What does it take to get a room in the place?

    I'd bet if the Pentagon and the White House tightened their belts a bit and cut back on delivering 'freedom and democracy' bombs to places like Iraq and Libya and Afghanistan, there would be enough in the budget to add another almost 700,000 rooms to places like Pitkin?

    I don't understand this comment (none / 0) (#5)
    by sj on Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 08:11:28 PM EST
    It sounds as if you disapprove of the humanity of the Pitkin County Sheriff's department.  Homelessness is a big problem, to be sure, but you can't possibly be expecting the country sheriff's department to solve the problem of homelessness.  Part of the way to change the world, it seems to me, is for each to work on his or her corner of it.  The Sheriff's department is caring for their corner.

    Not at all (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Edger on Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 09:28:57 PM EST
    I think what the Pitkin County Sheriff's department is doing there is great.

    I also think that if Washington was spending what they are spending on war on domestic social services instead there wouldn't be nearly the number of homeless people there are.

    But they have decided that spending on people needs to be cut drastically to be able to keep the war budget and the bankers bailouts budgets safe.