Cook County Jail’s New Program Brings Pizza Delivery Service to Detainees

CHICAGO — Inmates at the Cook County Jail in Chicago can now order pizza to be delivered directly to their cells through a service that’s proving to be a win-win for everyone involved.

The new pizza delivery service began at the end of April as part of the facility’s cooking program that teaches detainees helpful skills to be used upon release. Bruno Abate, owner of locally based Tocco’s Pizza, is the man behind the Recipe for Change program in the medium-security, all-male Division 11 that holds up to 1,536 pre-trial detainees. The program makes it easy for detainees to cook the pies in the jail’s own pizza oven, deliver the pies and eat them — all in one location. The three-month course concludes with certificates in culinary arts, reported CBS Chicago.

Detainees can purchase the pizza using their commissary money. The pizzas cost between $5 and $7, and come in a selection of six pies, according to the Chicago Tribune. The sales from the pizzas go straight back into funding the program, which started because of private donations. Since the program started, more than 200 pies have been sold.

The Recipe for Change program won’t necessarily stop with pizzas either. Plans to create a food truck serving food cooked by inmates is also in the developmental stage. Abate told the Chicago Tribune that the main goal of the program is to boost inmates’ self-esteem and love of food.