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Kansas inmates place order for 942 large pizzas

HUTCHINSON, Kan. | Two Pizza Huts in Hutchinson knew they'd be busy on Super Bowl Sunday, but not this busy: They're splitting a to-go order for more than 900 large pizzas and 9,600 chicken wings.

The order, which will cost more than $11,000, is part of a fundraiser for the Hutchinson Correctional Center's planned Spiritual Life Center. The prison will be getting 942 large, hand-tossed pizzas at $8 apiece and will charge inmates $11, with about $3,000 going toward the center.

The order also includes 9,630 wings — boneless to minimize the security risk.

The Hutchinson News reported that only inmates with good behavioral records got the chance to order pizza and chicken wings for Sunday.

"My first reaction was I didn't believe them," said Allen Plumley, general manager of one of the restaurants. "Super Bowl Sunday is one of our busiest days to begin with, but the biggest rush is right before the game or at halftime."

Last year, one of the Pizza Huts sold 495 large pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday, while the other sold 425. With the prison order, each will cook 471 pizzas before they even open.

Prison spokesman Steve Schneider said 811 of the facility's 1,862 inmates had placed an order — the largest from one inmate was $70 in pizza and wings.

"We're not just ordering pizza for every inmate in the place," Schneider said. "Each inmate orders the pizza for themselves, and they're paying from their own accounts."

More than 30 employees at each store will be involved in filling the order, placed by inmates at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility. Ten cooks were to start preparing the pizzas around midnight, with the rest of the workers scheduled to come in around 6 a.m. to start baking them.

The goal is to have the prison's order completed by the time the stores open at 11 a.m. The Super Bowl is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. Central Time.

"It's definitely going to be a challenge," said Jen Osner, a Pizza Hut district manager in Hutchinson.

Schneider said prison employees will be picking up the order, and the food will be delivered to inmates as soon as it reaches the prison. Inmates will take the food back to their assigned living areas to eat while waiting for the game.

"The ability to participate is based on their behavior, so it works in favor as an incentive for them to stay out of trouble," said Warden Sam Cline, who hopes to eventually raise $1 million for the Spiritual Life Center. "They like the chance to have any kind of (food) brand they're familiar with, so this is pretty special to them."

Some inmates who have earned privileges through good behavior have clear, plastic televisions on which they can watch the Super Bowl. Also, day rooms in the prison's minimum- and medium-security units have televisions that inmates can watch, Schneider said.

"Just like in society, there are the haves and the have-nots," he said. "Some will be able to participate and some will not."

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