Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

How do belarusian prisons save money on food?

Colony No 8 in Orsha is going to buy 185,000 eggs, 300 tons of bread and no single gram of meat in 2013.

On January 28, Colony No 8 in Orsha published rations purchase plan for 2013, which among many item positions has no mention of meat. Prisoners say beef could be replaced with poultry or red meat could be bought... from other prisons.

"We have poultry. The purchase of red meat is carried out at the institutions of the corrections system."

The Council of Ministers resolution, published on November 21, 2006, has no mention of poultry. Under the resolution, every prisoner is entitled to 90 grams of meat: pork, beef or lamb per day. The ministers had also taken care of cottage cheese and jelly drink, the latter not being on Orsha Colony No 8's list either.

Perhaps, we should believe Orsha prisoners who mention the purchase of meat from other colonies and prisons? Musician Fiodar Zhyvaleuski who served his term at Orsha colony from the spring of 2010 till the summer of 2011 says poulty in tiny portions was considered meat.

"Meat means chicken mainly. Tiniest pieces of chicken can be spotted in pasta or cooked cereal."

Zhyvaleuski mostly complains about the quality of food. He says improvements (or more chicken in pasta) would be visible only at times whe the prison was visited by inspectors from the Department of Corrections.

Alena Krasouskaya-Kaspiarovich from "Platform" civil organization which works to defend the rights of Belarusian prisoners, says improvements in food supplies account for over a half of all the complaints submitted by prisoners.

"This situation with the lack of meat in rations in Colony No 8 is very common. Inmates don't virtually see meat."

The reasons why poultry turns into red meat behind bars can be better understood after doing some simple math. According to the same rations purchase plan for 2013, Orsha Colony No 8 is set to buy 58 tons of chicken and would like to buy approximately 1 billion 253 million Belarus roubles or 21,000 BYR per kilo of chicken. Cheap but realistic. But if one takes the average cost of the cheapest mean (pork at 44,000 BYR or 4EUR per kilo), expenses would soar almost two-fold by approximately $150,000 per year. Good money! It would come handy in the Savings Year.