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Can I Order Pizza to My Jail Cell?

Yes! If you're an inmate in the medium security wing of Chicago's Cook County Jail, that is. But don't expect one of the city's iconic deep dish pies -- it's thin crust only on the menu. And you better trust your cellmate because he might be in charge of toppings -- all of the delivery pizzas are cooked by inmates in the jail's brick oven.

So the only question is: Are the guards partaking in prisoner-made pepperoni pizzas as well?

Prison Pies

Most of us have become so accustomed to pizza delivery that a piping hot pie on our doorstep in 30 minutes or less feels more like a right than a privilege. The hardest work is deciding which toppings to get and finding the nearest delivery spot to you. Needless to say, incarceration can make those decisions moot. Domino's doesn't deliver to Division 11. But some fellow inmates might.

Under Cook County's "Recipe for Change" program, spearheaded by local chef Bruno Abate, inmates can order four different pies, priced between $5 and $7, for delivery to their cell. Cook County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cara Smith insists "this isn't coddling the detainees," and Abate says his goal with the program is to teach inmates skills they can use post incarceration and to boost inmates' self-esteem and love of food and cooking. Smith also told the Chicago Tribune that plans to start a food truck serving inmate-prepared cuisine are underway.

A Pizza My Sentence

So what's on the menu? Everything from your basic margherita to the fancy "four seasons" pie, complete with mushrooms, soppressata, olives, and egg. The favorite among the inmates, according to Smith, is the standard sausage pizza.

And are the pies as popular with prison guards as they are with the prisoners? Not so much. Smith says that while the program was rolled out with the intent to sell pizzas to the prison staff, the jail guards "wanted nothing to do with anything made by detainees."

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