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Inmates in Chicago Can Now Order Pizza Delivery While in Jail

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The pizzas are baked by Cook County Jail inmates

Cook County Jail inmates participate in Recipe For Change.
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Officials in Chicago say they aren’t coddling inmates when talking about a new program started last month that allows inmates to order pizza delivery to their Cook County Jail cells. The pies are made by fellow inmates using the jail’s brick oven, reported the Tribune. They asked prison guards if they wanted to be included, but they told county officials they want nothing to do with food prepared by inmates.

Chef Bruno Abate, who cooks at Tocco—the Wicker Park Italian restaurant along Milwaukee Avenue—teaches select inmates how to make the thin-crust pies. He wants to expand his pupils’ appreciation for food and increase their self esteem. The delivery program is for inmates in a mostly-medium security division. The menu includes six pies like Margherita or four season. Sausage is the top-seller for those encased in jail, according to county officials.

Posted by Recipe for Change on Sunday, April 9, 2017

The pizzas aren’t free, costing between $5 and $7. Detainees use their commissary money. Food and criminals have had a connection in Chicago. Felony Franks, a suburban hot dog stand in Oak Park has gained attention for hiring convicts and giving them another chance. Tocco’s Abate is part of a program called Recipe for Change, a charity that helps bolster inmates’ work ethics.