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So far, one TDCJ unit is piloting a program that may be the states answer to budget reduction. The program, which allows outside food service contracts to be awarded to companies that can offer competitive bids to serve TDCJ's growing inmate population, will possibly reduce food service cost overall. A central Texas unit is acting as the pilot unit. It has contracted the Aramark Company to supply meals for inmates. Aramark, which is a multi-million dollar collection of companies, serves baseball , and football stadium meals nationwide. The cost savings overall is significant says one TDCJ official. TDCJ agriculture operations has sustained many cutbacks, thus crop production is suffering. It is almost as cost comparable to contract food service companies that will cook, and serve the food , as it is to grow and harvest vegatables, and raise livestock. Many may not be aware, but TDCJ raises and sells its livestock to then turn around and buy less expensive cuts of beef and other food stuffs to serve the inmate population. The fully functional food service outside contract would cut food service jobs, would create security problems by bringing in outside contract workers into a prison setting, and would possibly shut down all agriculture operations within TDCJ over time. The Aramark Company, which has been featured on numerous TV specials, has admitted employing ex-cons freh out of prison to staff its positions. The pay levels for these workers are grossly inadequate some state. TDCJ states that nothing as of now is final, its only a pilot program to test the various options to reduce cost. Only time will tell what decision will finally affect TDCJ staff and employees.