Prison food as punishment?

by Walter Olson on March 23, 2008

“Nutraloaf” is full of wholesome ingredients, but a class action on behalf of Vermont prison inmates claims it is punishment to eat and should be assigned only after disciplinary proceedings. (Wilson Ring, AP/Examiner, Mar. 22)(via Mike Cernovich at the happily revived Crime and Federalism).

{ 12 comments }

1 Ted 03.23.08 at 10:44 am

Recipe:

This recipe must be followed without substitution or variation in procedure. Any such change could effect the nutrient content.

2 oz Ground Beef
Brown off in kettle and drain thoroughly

4 oz Canned, Chopped Spinach
4 oz Canned Carrots, Diced
4 oz Vegetarian Beans
Open and drain all vegetables well

4 oz Applesauce
1 oz Tomato Paste
1/2 cup Potato Flakes
1 cup Bread Crumbs
2 oz Dry Milk Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder or Flakes

Combine beef and vegetables. Gradually blend in remaining ingredients until well combined. Mixture should be stiff but moist enough to spread. Each loaf should weigh 1 1/2 pounds precooked weight and be scaled to insure proper weight. Place mixture into a loaf pan that has been sprayed with pan release and lined with filter paper.

Each loaf should bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit in convection/steam oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the loaf reaches 155 degrees internal temperature.

(Substitute 4 oz vegetarian beans for meat in vegetarian recipe.)

2 Avi 03.23.08 at 11:07 am

That’s it? That’s the recipe for it? They’re complaining about eating meatloaf? I suppose Vermont’s state budget doesn’t allow for champagne and chateaubriand for convicted felons.

3 Richard Nieporent 03.23.08 at 12:48 pm

What next, the dreaded fruitcake? I have heard that making someone eat one is considered to be cruel or inhuman punishment. :)

4 Deoxy 03.24.08 at 11:34 am

it is punishment to eat and should be assigned only after disciplinary proceedings.

Hm, I was under the impression that EVERYONE in prison was there after some form of “disciplinary proceedings”.

5 Anonymous Attorney 03.25.08 at 11:01 am

“Christopher Williams, 29, who is charged in a 2006 school shooting that killed two people in Essex, was given nutraloaf after he’d assaulted guards and smeared excrement in his cell.”

I sometimes wonder why we as a society tolerate this at all. I have some reservations about the death penalty, but it seems to me that this is an irreperable breach of the social contract that warrants it. For instance: a person who commits a crime deserves punishment, perhaps incarceration. The commission of crimes, however, is most often a remediable breach of the social contract – you can remedy it by serving time, paying a fine, etc. But if you are so pathological and so determined to harm society that you continue on that path of behavior even while incarcerated, you should not be allowed to live. Skip the nutraloaf and give Christopher Williams the needle.

6 OBQuiet 03.26.08 at 10:18 am

AA,

Not directly related to the above post but I have wondered before what deterrent you have when a person is sentenced to Life without parole.

Seems that, ignoring the possible loss of the unlikely pardon, there isn’t much else they can do to you. Particularly if your State does not have a death penalty. Permanent Solitary would probably be rules Cruel.

7 Anonymous Attorney 03.26.08 at 11:06 am

OBQ, I think you have a point. And if my post sounded radical, let me say this as well: I am skeptical of life imprisonment terms, and even long prison terms, partly for the reason you mention. Life in prison is a sort of death penalty, anyway… only one that might even be LESS humane, given prison life.

One thing I am certain of: the penalty for killing a corrections officer should be death.

8 MF 03.26.08 at 7:08 pm

These prisoners obviously never went to college. This Nutraloaf sounds far better than any of the dorm food we usually got!

On a serious note, I’m so sick and tired of prisoners complaining that things aren’t just peachy for them. They get far too much as it is. For example, television ought to be paid for through the minimal wages they earn by performing work at the prison. Not doing a job (such as the old standby, license plate making)? No TV. This isn’t a long-term hotel. And that TV feed costs real money to the prison, so let’s make the prisoners actually cover some of the expenses they generate.

9 Michelle 06.03.08 at 2:05 pm

I honestly think this sounds so good!

10 Jared 12.28.08 at 10:39 am

Nutraloaf?
That’s an old ARAMARK stand-by…they used to feed us that at Johnson State College but there were always rumors that the prisoners next door got better eatin’s. Apparently they were untrue.

11 cotter 01.17.09 at 1:19 am

it does sound good, thats not what it is. I just got locked up for 4 days for parking tickets at chester county prison, serving Aramark prison food. it was the WORST tasting stuff ever, they use kidneys, tripe, all manner of horrid things. no salt or garlic or other flavors are added, it is extremely nasty, example:
imagine a tub of rancid oil with specs of meatish things floating in it, grey (think taco meat with strings and no salt) a wierd stale biscut, a smear of diet flavored orange jello (literally smear, 1/2″ lumps), 1/4 strength diet koolaide, carrots and celery cooked into a paste and rice with more of the rancid oil on it. It doesn’t sound that bad, but after 24 hrs I was very sick.
another example of doesn’t sound too bad
boiled eggs, corn bread, milk, orange drink, grits, sausage patty

sounds ok right?
nope. the sausage is actually turkey byprducts and smells like suet. Grits are cold and NO SALT glue, corn bread smells like weevils and the eggs are boiled in the shell, are strangely small and oddly shaped, overcooked o rubber and smell like sulfur. a strange orange margarine is provided which tasted like spoiled mayo.
I do not exagerrate, and I eat anything, I like bizzare foods with andrew zimern even, and whatever nutra loaf is, that recipe is not it. I believe it is soy and giblet steamed lump of poison.

12 cotter 01.17.09 at 1:27 am

oh yea, and MF, I was in for a PARKING TICKET i lost and didn’t pay, locked over the weekend. I was Charged for my prison stay, $40 a day, plus $26 each way for transportation.
it was 45 degrees in my cell and 50 in the lunch room, cold showers, a 3×5′ blanket, had to wait 6 hours to get toilet paper, 2 days for a TUMS, prison is horrible, and the people in there are not all guilty, some wait months for court dates and then are not guilty, so why are they punished when we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty? Again, it doesn’t sound that bad, like camping, right? wrong. it’s hard to explain how bad it is to live in a filty freezing bathroom with 2 bad people, I was ready to hang myself after a day, thank god my brother found the judge or it would have been 2 weeks before i would have been schedueled to appear.

Comments on this entry are closed.