America’s Prison Food Is Still Criminally Awful
The food served to inmates in America’s prisons continues to be a national embarrassment. Thankfully, more and more people are trying to do something about it.
This week, Impact Justice, a nonprofit that advocates for criminal justice reform, released a report on the state of foods served to prison inmates across the United States. The first-ever national report on prison food, Eating Behind Bars: Ending the Hidden Punishment of Food in Prison, shines a critical light on “the quality and consequences” of food served in America’s prisons.
The report, which clocks in at more than 130 pages, is based on surveys, interviews with prisoners and experts, and a review of state policies. It reveals some sobering figures. Three out of every four prison survey respondents said they’d been served spoiled or rotting food in prison, while more than nine out of 10 prisoners surveyed said they weren’t provided with sufficient food while incarcerated.
It concludes that food served to incarcerated people “and the conditions under which it is served are harmful to physical and mental health and can erode self-esteem, with immediate and long-term impacts.”
The report also notes the COVID-19 pandemic has made lousy prison food even worse.
Indeed, prisons quickly became hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks. More than 1,500 prisoners across the country died from COVID-19 in just the first two months of the pandemic, The Marshall Project, a nonprofit that focuses on criminal justice issues, reported in May. Prison staff have also contracted the virus at work.
In some cases, these COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons have hammered the facilities’ ability to prepare and serve food—because of staff illnesses and because inmates at some prisons also serve as prep cooks and foodservice workers.
“Their food now arrives at odd hours in paper bags, cold, mushy and without a hint of green (except perhaps for some iffy-looking hot dogs),” The Marshall Project reported of food served during the pandemic in Texas prisons. “Mostly it’s stale white bread and mystery meat, with the occasional helping of raisins or prunes.”
Some prisoners who complained found their food got worse, not better.
A recent investigation by the
Article from Latest – Reason.com