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Support Division

The Support Division is made up of the following Units:

  • Commissary
  • Farm
  • Food Service
  • Road Gang
  • Vocational Programs

The Support Division offers programs and classes for inmates and is funded at virtually no cost to Manatee County. The Inmate Work Farm operation began in 1993, with the aim of lowering food costs for the jail, while teaching inmates a trade and good work ethics. From a modest beginning of one chicken house with 2,000 laying hens and a row crop vegetable garden, the Inmate Work Farm has grown to 3 chicken houses and 6,000 laying hens for egg production, hydroponics greenhouses, a cattle operation and meat/fish processing, tank-grown tilapia, and fresh lettuce and vegetables, all to offset skyrocketing food costs for inmates.

The Food Service Section is composed of Production, Bakery / Diet, Prep, Food Transportation, Staff Dining, Loading Dock Security, 2nd Warehouse. This section is responsible for the preparation and delivery of all inmate meals, providing meals to satellite facilities, and preparing meals for the staff and guests.

The Commissary Unit provides support for delivery of items ordered by inmates from kiosks in the dorms, resets PIN numbers and controls the financial transactions

The Road Gang provides labor for road and ditch projects obtained from Manatee County Public Works and is responsible for the outside grounds at the Central Jail and other assigned facilities.

The Inmate Farm Unit administers the planting, growing, and harvesting of fresh vegetables and the preparation, preservation, and distribution of those and other vegetables and items as required. This unit is also responsible for all animal husbandry projects and functions.

Vocational Programs offers inmates MTI-sponsored classes in Diesel Mechanics, Welding, and Horticulture. The tuition for MTI is paid from the Inmate Commissary Fund, and credits earned can be continued upon the inmate's release from jail.

The Warrants Deputies Unit is responsible for the service of criminal warrants.

Other cost-cutters include Auto Body and Paint where agency and county vehicles are repaired and painted; the Horticulture Program produces fresh vegetables; the Aquaculture Program's tilapia fish are raised for inmate consumption; the Sewing Production Unit makes all inmate uniforms, underwear, sheets, pillowcases and other items (watch for new screen-printed shirts and embroidering); the new Mattress Plant made over 950 new mattresses the first year; the Hydroponics Program turns out 11,000 heads of lettuce in 60-day cycles; the new Grist Mill grinds whole dent corn for half the cost of purchased corn meal and grits; Meat and Fish Processing turns out inmate entrees and reduces food costs; and the Road Gang Unit uses inmate labor to save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in labor costs for projects county-wide.

We have a "Graze Green" forage production, feed lot operation and Brangus herd development, making us the only agency in the world involved in this type of forage/cow/calf production operation.

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