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For years I have had friends tell me about the food in prison. In fact, when I was younger and we went to visit the prison, as some sort of school “scared straight” or “DARE” activity, I remember a sign in the Greensboro Jail Kitchen that said something about This ain’t Burger King we don’t do it your way! Never did I imagine what was really going on in the kitchen in this jail and others across the country.
I ended up having my own experience with jail food which changed everything. Now the things I heard were not just stories, it was beyond belief. We had “Feeding Time” . It felt very much like we were animals and then the food….. I have never in my life seen food that looked like this. It was beyond horrible down to the warm Koolaid with no sugar they served as drink. I did not think I was going to eat well in jail,but NEVER did I imagine this. No wonder you hear about people fighting over food.
So after having my own experience I have been asking around about experiences in different prisons and jails. The latest version of prison food punishment I have heard about is called SCAT. Some chicken and turkey is what they say it stands for. It says on the package “Not for human consumption” for institutional use only! What does that mean?
I have heard about Loaf which is a bland cardboard tasting meal that is a mixture of all the leftovers blended into a dense mass. It is sometimes called nutraloaf. This is used in a number of prisons across the country. I would argue that using food as punishment is a enormous human rights issue. Psychologists agree that humans have evolved to crave many different types of food and this is without question punishment.
Most jails are feeding people just enough not to starve. In fact there have been lawsuits brought across the country. I know that many times people are coming in desperately in need of calories and severely dehydrated and the kind of meals being handed to these individuals only further harms them. Some prisons and jails do not have to offer 3 meals a day.
For those of you that say, well these people are in jail. Well, people in jail are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty and beyond this, we cannot treat people worse than animals. Human Rights should be upheld regardless. Losing freedom should be enough punishment.
The US puts more people in prison than any other country in the world. We must end mass criminalization and mass incarceration of Americans Now. Please get involved with a group in your area that is committed to prison reform, ending mass incarceration and criminalization.