Florida's Going Broke Trying to Give Prisoners Tasty Kosher MealsS

Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott's plan to turn the American dong into a tea party utopia has hit two snags: Jews and the irascible human desire for food that doesn't look and taste like a whale's duodenum.

The Sunshine State is home to the country's third-largest prison system—one whose budget the conservative Scott vowed to slash by $1 billion, which is tough to do when you privatize most of that system and find that it suddenly costs more to run than when it was state-administered.

Florida's stab at thriftiness was blocked again last month when a federal judge ruled that its prisons had to offer inmates a kosher alternative to their usual meals. The problem: Providing those meals would cost the state 4 bucks a day per prisoner, more than double the $1.52 it's currently spending on three squares per prisoner per day. "You're talking about a lot of money," the state prison chief said. Also, everybody wants them, according to the Tampa Bay Times:

...prison officials anticipated 300 inmates to demand kosher meals, but 4,417 of them are on a list to get them, because specially prepared kosher meals taste better than run-of-the-mill prison food that includes staples such as a "meat supplement" known as PVT. Most are not Jewish...

What the hell is PVT? If you find out, let me know. I couldn't find anything about it in a quick search of FDA and agricultural databases, but I can confirm that the first five Google hits for "meat supplement" pertain to dog kibble, and hit No. 6 is for "Wholesale meat supplement from China." So, uh, yeah, Baruch atah adonai, motherfuckers. Where's my Salisbury steak?

[Photo credit: AP]

Update: Thanks to commenters AbleBaker and peroxyacid, we're pretty sure the Tampa Bay Times meant TVP, or textured vegetable protein, which still, ugh.