The Prison Industrial Complex is a term often used to describe the interests of government and corporations coming together. It gets a bad rap and rightfully so. The social and economic problems addressed by the PIC often come under fire more for the issues they cause than solve…until now!
In a small town in Iowa once known for its annual festival of snapping rubber bands on your own leg, is a minimum security prison. Some of the inmates are in for petty crimes and others are serving life sentences, but what they all have in common, is that they have a passion for food–a passion for food served at Hooters…because the prison is a Hooters, too.
The North Iowa Penitentiary (or “NIP” for short) conducts culinary instruction 7 days a week, beginning at 11:30 a.m. and going all the way until midnight, which wouldn’t ya know, is also the operating hours of America’s favorite chain for eating hot wings with an erection.
Inmates learn how to properly grill a hamburger, how to operate the fryers, and how to prep and organize a mise en place. Customers don’t seem to mind their food was prepared by the inmates, either.
“The way I see it,” commented Rick Toilet, “If you’re doing 5-7 because you were cooking meth, then you know your way around a kitchen anyway. It’s good for these men to learn a valuable skill. Not really sure why the government chose a Hooters, though. It’s a bit much to have the inmates wear the shorts and t-shirts when they serve us.”
The inmates, indeed, are also the servers. Donning the famous orange shorts and revealing white t-shirts, they serve customers in the same tradition as Hooters waitresses around the nation.
“Look,” said Belch Jenkins, an inmate at NIP, “Do I like wearing these tiny shorts and being ogled by customers and other inmates? Not particularly, no. But I’m learning a valuable skill in the name of rehabilitation. NIP is saving my life and I’m sure my government and the fine folks at Hooters HQ have that as their top priority. It’s an added bonus that I make 8 cents an hour.”
Hooters and the warden at NIP refused to comment for this story. At the time of publication, it is believed the NIP Hooters was the 3rd most revenue generating outlet in the Midwest. Protesters believe this is due to the money being saved from wages paid to inmates as employees. No doubt, the campaign seems to work, though, as Chili’s, TGIFriday’s, and Red Robin all plan to open prisons in 2019. They insist it is to rehabilitate inmates.
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