Fruits are used as a substitute for cakes and puddings. But prison administrations all over the United States are slowly removing fruits from inmate diets claiming that the inmates are using the fruits to make “hooch” or prison alcohol and are getting violent, resulting in injuries to staff and other inmates. They are using the same argument to remove pure sugar and replacing that with the saccharin laced sugar substitutes. Even though white sugar isn’t as good for you as white sugar, artificial sweeteners are known to be carcinogenic. The prison’s water comes from the in house water purification system. Inmates have complained about the smell, taste and discoloration of prison water. Some institutions sell bottle water, but the inmates are only allowed to purchase a certain amount of bottles. That leaves the inmates often reaching for a can of soda or artificial flavored drinks like Hawaiian Punch or some other sugary drink in order to quench their thirsts. When it comes to prison food there aren’t many alternatives. Inmates are usually faced with choosing between the lesser of the two evils. During lock-downs those options are reduced to none. Commissary shopping is forbidden as a form of punishment. Seventy-two hours after the lockdown commences inmates are given one hot meal a day. The rest of the meals are FEMA styled boxed lunches which consists of Bologna, cheese, sandwich bread, a snack and a powdered drink mix. Based on the lock-down period these processed meals can be served to inmates from anywhere from a few days or a few months.
Government nutrition guidelines encourages the eating of fruits and vegetables. With prisons claiming to be strapped for cash, and the cost fruits and vegetables increasing steadily since the 1980’s high quality foods are a “luxury” that they can’t afford. Meanwhile the cost of junk foods, sugar laced sodas and juices has been dropping consistently. Prison officials have come to the conclusion that a less healthy diet makes more fiscal sense. Inmates find themselves in a situation where stopping their stomach grumblings will cause long term damage to their health. A diet that consists of foods that are high in salts, sugar and fat will eventually lead to obesity, diabetes and other illnesses. It is without question that health experts would consider inmates malnourished. Even though most people have a mental picture of big muscular prisoners, that image betrays what’s going on on the inside of the inmates bodies. The same problems facing people living in food deserts in American cities are also plaguing inmates in American prisons. At least those that are free have choices where an inmate is faced with no choice but to eat what the poison that is given to them or starve.