Turkey processing helps inmates at NERCC

By KBJR News 1

Turkey processing helps inmates at NERCC

November 13, 2013 Updated Nov 13, 2013 at 10:10 PM CDT

Saginaw, Minn. (NNCNOW.com) -- Inmates at the Northeast Regional Correctional Center are helping turn turkeys into a meal.

"They come in live through the back door, we put them in a pen and kill them, dunk them, pluck them, and then let them sit on ice for about four hours and then they get processed and bagged and boxed and shipped out," said Jesse Bonacci-Koski an inmate at the facility.

Inmates at NERCC raise and process more than 100 turkeys for their facility and a county juvenile facility; but a good meal is not the only thing inmates are getting out of the deal.

"It helps them build a better work ethic, teaches them soft skills in keeping jobs working with other people," said Crew Leader Curt Bogatzki.

Many of the inmates are incarcerated for committing felonies or misdemeanors.

While they serve their time, officials want them to gain some knowledge.

"It hopefully gives them some work readiness; it gives them some exposure to some different vocations," said Kathy Trihey, Superintendent at NERCC.

People can also bring their own livestock to be processed at the facility for a small fee.

Some of the men have really come to enjoy what they are doing.

"Its hands on I guess...and a lot of people don't do it the way they do it here. It's all big factory, this is mom and pop style and that's rare now a days," said Bonacci-Koski.

NERCC also processes chickens, pigs, and cattle.

The Saint Louis County Board recently voted to give NERCC $5 million grant for upgrades to the facility which includes a new meat processing building.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.