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Video From Inside Allegheny County Jail Raises Concerns Among Elected Officials Over Food Service

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A video gaining attention on social media is raising concerns about the quality of food at the Allegheny County Jail.

Teresa Brown says she was video chatting with her nephew, an inmate at the jail, Saturday. He showed her what was on his tray for dinner and asked her to record it.

"This is the dinner that they're serving us in the jail tonight," the man says in the video. "Bologna with applesauce in it and Teddy Grahams. That's the only thing that's on our tray for dinner tonight."

The man also asks his aunt to "make this go viral."

Brown posted the video on social media where it has received attention from the public and local leaders.

"Animals eat better than the way my nephew was eating yesterday," Brown said.

Someone sent the video to At-Large Allegheny County Councilwoman Bethany Hallam who also sits on the county's jail oversight board.

Hallam says she's heard from several inmates' relatives about conditions inside the jail and received more complaints than usual on Saturday.

"They were talking about kitchen workers getting COVID, replacement kitchen workers being quarantined, and now as a result, the food being provided is, understatement of the year, less than adequate."

The Allegheny County Jail has recently seen an increase in COVID-19 cases. Tuesday, they announced 56 new cases with hundreds of more people in quarantine.

In a statement, an Allegheny County spokesperson said Saturday's dinner was impacted by issues with kitchen staff.

"Inmates working in the kitchen yesterday began exhibiting symptoms of COVID and were quarantined," the spokesperson said. "Other inmates volunteered and have begun working in the kitchen this morning. The dinner meal was the only one impacted yesterday. This morning, the breakfast meal included sausage, potatoes, cereal, and fruit."

However, both Hallam and Brown said the quality of food at the jail has been an ongoing issue for a while.

"Regardless of if they're in prison or not, they're human beings," Brown said. "They need to treat them with respect."

Hallam said the jail oversight board has been advocating for better food at the jail for some time, but the quality has worsened during the pandemic.

"The fact that we now have a video of everything that folks have been claiming in regards to the food quality at the jail is hopefully going to finally bring attention to this issue."

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