Research undertaken by the Flemish Free University of Brussels, the VUB, and the University of Southern Denmark has revealed the importance of prison food in jails in Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark. It also showed how important a special meal at Christmas is. It helps detainees to get through what is often a difficult period.
"A special meal brings some alleviation" says the VUB's An-Sofie Vanhouche "though it's not easy on a daily 3.80 euro budget."
The 3.80 euros has to cover all 3 meals.
This is why most prisons make the effort to provide special fare at Christmas. Whatever landed prisoners in jail, missing family and friends at Christmas is hard. There are numerous suicides and researchers say the impact of how difficult this period is for prisoners shouldn't be underestimated.
Because of the little money available prisons will skimp at other times in the year to allow them to do something special at Christmas. Cooks have to be creative and buyers need to contact all the suppliers to see what special offers there are.