Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Prison Loaf

I just read an article by Tovin Lapan called "Shawshank revulsion: Loaf used as punishment in jail"

It's about a form of punishment reserved only for the worst prisoners, and they are fed this loaf and apparently break down and turn into compliant pussycats after a few days on it.

What I found so interesting, is that it sounds quite similar to food I eat, voluntarily. I am wondering about the fact that I am eating the same foods as prisoners, yet I can go for months, and not break. It must be the fact that I am choosing to eat it. Or maybe it's because I am not in prison? Who knows....

I don't have enough room to post the entire article here, but just so you can get the "flavor" of it, here you go:

On Christmas Day, the inmates at Santa Cruz County Jail will get a welcome respite from their regularly scheduled, nutritious but mostly unexciting high school cafeteria-style meals -- glazed ham with sweet potatoes and ice cream for dessert.

If an inmate has been behaving poorly, however, while all his incarcerated compatriots dine on one of the few special meals of the year, he will instead be forced to feast on "the loaf."

Otherwise known as the disciplinary diet loaf, prison loaf and management loaf, when all else fails in disciplining an inmate -- be it loss of visits, free time or other privileges -- the deputies turn to this bland log of meat and vegetables to get the disruptive inmate to follow the rules.

It only happens once or twice a year, according to officials, but where other corrective measures fail, the loaf is typically successful.

"Usually, they only last a couple days on the loaf before they agree to comply with directions and are given normal meals again," said Tim Sanford, the jail's food service manager for 15 years.

The loaf -- by most accounts, a highly effective measure in getting inmates to follow rules -- is the only example of food being used as discipline in the correctional system, and has been challenged under the Eighth Amendment as cruel and unusual punishment in several U.S. states.

The loaf looks like it is constructed from layers of particle board, and little kernels of corn and slivers of carrot jut out from the insides when its is bisected. It does not taste bad, but rather is so dry and lacking in flavor as to be at best unappetizing and at worst better used mixed with milk to make a nice Spackle. It is served with two slices of wheat bread and, instead of the typical serving of milk, a cup of water.



2 1/2 oz. nonfat dry milk
4 1/2 oz. raw grated potato
4 1/2 oz. raw carrots, chopped or grated fine
1 1/2 oz. tomato juice or puree
4 1/2 oz. raw cabbage, chopped fine
7 oz. lean ground beef, turkey or rehydrated, canned or frozen Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
2 1/2 fl. oz. oil
1 1/2 oz. whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 tsp. raw onion, chopped
1 egg
6 oz. dry red beans, precooked before baking (or 16 oz. canned or cooked red kidney beans) 4 tsp. chili powder
Shape into a loaf and bake at 350-375 degrees for 50-70 minutes.

Tomorrow: the recipe I am eating that is similar. Turkey Oatmeal muffins, a recipe from Jamie Eason.

There is a lot more to the article, such facts as the states which have banned the loaf! You can find it here.

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