All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Bon appetit!

Today I want to talk about prison cuisine and Alex Friedmann. 

Alex Friedmann is managing editor of PRISON LEGAL NEWS. But when it comes to prison food, he knows what he’s talking about. 

From 1987 to 1999, he served a total of 10 years in Tennessee state and county jails. While incarcerated, he saw the stereotypically abysmal trays of overboiled vegetables, mystery meat, white bread, and sodas, but he also saw food being leveraged as further punishment by prison officials. For instance, inmates were occasionally served so-called “food loaf,” which contains an entire tray of food—meat, dessert, bread, vegetables—mashed together and baked. We’ve heard numerous stories about “food loaf” in Michigan. 

“It’s a terrible, awful thing, and they serve it,” he says. 

I’m bringing up the topic, because the COVID crisis seems to have made the problem even worse in Michigan prisons. 

Said one of my friends: “...had a slimy bologna sandwich for lunch and cold, gummy mac & cheese for supper. At least the beets were okay cold, but barely cooked. Cold peas are just nasty.” 

Client Josh said: “... we had beans which I was eating and I bit down on a stone and broke my tooth. These people treat us like dogs.”

A prisoner’s wife unloaded on me: 

Milk is mostly spoiled although the “best before date” is not yet exceeded, which makes it clear that it is not stored properly! The food is either undercooked or overcooked and most people don't eat chicken anymore because it's always pink and they get sick from it. Months ago there were maggots in the rice. Sometimes they don't know what kind of food it is, it's indefinable and if they are smart they don't eat it at all. My husband also says the potatoes, for example, are inedible as well as the rice, they are rotten and smell bad. There were countless times when there was no more oatmeal for breakfast or there were bugs inside. They often get cold hot dogs and cold oatmeal. Typical dinner when they are understaffed: 1 hot dog,1 slice of bread and 1 bag of mustard. 

We hear it over and over again! Is this acceptable? 

Back to Friedmann: 

”95% of those who are incarcerated will one day be released, so how they are treated behind bars—including what they are fed—may impact the rest of us after all. They will be your neighbors once they are released. What kind of people do we want coming back to our communities?” 



1 comment:

Unknown said...

Doug, This is something I hear from some of the inmates I still connect with. So sad that they have to endure that as well as some of the other treatment they receive or not.
Did you happen to see the January Series today? Ruben Miller pointed out a lot of bad things in the whole correction system.