Taipei, A species of native free-range chicken bred at Mingde Minimum-Security Prison in Tainan was the best-selling jail-made food across Taiwan in 2018, according to the Agency of Corrections under the Ministry of Justice.
Sales reached NT$10.60 million (US$344,870) last year with more than 4,000 customers, many placing occasional orders, said an agency official.
Mingde Minimum-Security Prison is situated in a mountainous area with fresh air and good quality water, with 30,000 chickens housed in several coops each year.
The Taiwan black-feathered country chickens are medium in size, with a single comb and red earlobes. They are also more disease-resistant than other species, according to the prison.
The free-range chickens are raised in a natural, open environment where they freely roam and forage for their own food, though they are also fed vegetable leaves and forage grass and so not exposed to antibiotics and other chemicals. They are slaughtered at about four months old, according to the prison.
Others products among the 2018 top sales list are “home made” egg-rolls and pastries from Tainan Prison with NT$10.44 million in sales and “home made” nut tarts from Kaohsiung Women’s Prison which made NT$7.8 million, according to the official.
Initiated in 2006, following the relocation of labor-intensive industries abroad, the prison work program in Taiwan aims to equip inmates with life skills and improve their ability to join the workforce on release.
All healthy prisoners are required to participate in the program, an agency official said, adding that training courses are held from time to time to teach basic skills in such fields as sewing, arts and food manufacturing.
Most of the sales revenue goes to victim compensation, improvement of facilities and inmate wages, according to the official.
Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council