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Contact: Zoe Ades, Communications Director
COUNCILMEMBER PINTO INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO PROVIDE HEALTHY FOOD AND EXPAND ACCESS TO HOSPITALITY CAREER TRAINING IN DC CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
Today, Councilmember Brooke Pinto introduced the Food Regulation Ensures Safety and Hospitality Specialty Training Aids Re-entry Transition and Success (“FRESH STARTS”) Act of 2023 to transform food access in Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities and ensure residents have access to healthy, nutritious food. The legislation also establishes additional workforce training programs to provide incarcerated residents with the tools they need to enter hospitality sector jobs upon exiting incarceration. This legislation is the latest action by Councilmember Pinto to provide people with the best chance at a successful and healthy reentry into society to reduce recidivism and keep communities safe. The legislation is co-introduced by Councilmembers Charles Allen, Christina Henderson, Robert White, Vincent Gray, Matthew Frumin, Janeese Lewis George, and Brianne Nadeau.
For years, residents in DC Jail and other correctional facilities have been raising the alarm about DOC’s failure to meet their dietary needs and provide healthy or nutritious food options. A lack of adequate nutrition leads to behavioral issues and heightened tensions that can lead to violence as well as an inability to fully participate in rehabilitative programming. This legislation will reduce recidivism and violence in DOC facilities by mandating that DOC follow basic nutrition standards and increasing oversight while providing residents with job training to reduce their likelihood of recidivating.
“Access to healthy and nutritious food is the first step to ensuring an emotionally and physically balanced life. For too long, residents in the DC Jail have lacked sufficient healthy food options, which can lead to behavioral and other health challenges. With this legislation, we are putting an end to this practice,” said Councilmember Pinto. “To create long-term safety, we need look at the whole life cycle of violence – from preventing crime to putting an end to recidivism. This legislation will also provide incarcerated residents hospitality job training so that upon exiting DOC facilities, they can productively re-enter society in an industry with opportunity and upward trajectory – increasing residents’ ability to succeed and promoting the long-term safety of communities.”
The FRESH STARTS Act of 2023 will: