March 2, 2009

Prisoners complete jail cooking classes

Officials overseeing the culinary arts program at California's El Dorado County jail said 36 prisoners have so far completed the cooking classes.

The program, which the 158-bed jail and Lake Tahoe Community College have operated since 2007, has resulted in baked goods that won 20 ribbons and one best of show at the El Dorado County Fair, The Sacramento Bee reported Monday.

Sheriff's Lt. Randy Peshon, commander of the jail, said the program -- which bears the unofficial motto: So good, it's a crime -- is aimed at helping prisoners find employment after they are released.

We want to put a floor under these people when they get out, Peshon said.

Officials said the classes, which include certification courses in food safety and college credit courses, have led to several former students finding employment or continuing their education on the outside.