Tuesday, August 9, 2011

prison meals

after reading an article yesterday, my brain wheels have just been turning and turning and turning.  here is the article 

in case you don't want to read it, it is basically about a 42 year old man who went to jail (guilt and charge not mentioned) and insisted on non meat meals.  when he wasn't accommodated, he didn't eat.  over 99 days, he lost 50 pounds and now human- and animal-rights activists are outraged.  this all happened in california.  comments from the article said that the charges for the man were dropped at the 99 day mark.  so, i assume then that he is not guilty, not that that is relevant.

i posted this article on facebook to get comments from my friends. 
after all had commented, i made 4 points:   
#1: the freedom of CHOICE (for a meal plan) is just one of those things you loose when you go to PRISON (prison as opposed to jail - meaning found guilty, of coarse!) i think though that this person was actually released and the charges were dropped. 
#2: if a person has a modified diet health reasons (which a doctor should be prescribing this diet) - this could be anything from vegetarian to low salt), then their diet should be accommodated.
#3: if he lost 50 pounds and he was a vegetarian, makes me wonder what he eats to start with. i'm guessing not a "real" vegetarian. most hard-core vegetarians don't have 50 pounds to loose... i'm overweight (and not hard core vegetarian) but if i lost 50 pounds, i'd be almost dead.
#4: this man was clearly out to get attention and his hunger strike should have been considered a suicide attempt. 

this article has gotten me to thinking about general life in prison.  as pointed out by most of my commenters on facebook, inmates are treated better than many folks who live "outside" the prison (i.e., TV, A/C, regular meals, etc.)  on my way to work this morning, i had a grand idea.

what if... all prisoners were provided a plant based diet ONLY.  4 fruits a day, 2 meals of greens (both salad and cooked greens, which have plenty of protein) with other vegetables, beans/lentils, and nuts for added protein... no meat at all. 

think of all the problems that would solve:
no religions to accommodate (i.e. dietary restrictions for certain religions)
no added hormones to the diet
no added cost of meat
lower allergy and intolerances (and associated side affects, such as ADHD or hyper activity, which may cut down on violence)
all leftover-waste would be compostable (when you add meat,  you can't compost that waste)
maybe that would not be an incentive to come to prison (i.e. having to eat plant based diet)

and based on my family, when we switched to a plant based diet and no meat, we did not spend more (and we buy organic which a prison would not need to do), so i can say for sure it does not cost more to go plant.  i tell ya, this is a million dollar idea!  who do i pitch it to now?  california prisons?  ha!

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