Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter dinner at Alcatraz?

So did everyone have a nice Easter? I hope you had an enjoyable time with family and friends, as well as plenty of good eats! I had to work, and for some strange reason, we were busier today than we were yesterday! But I got home at a decent time, and my parents stopped by on their way home from my sister's and en route to see my Dad's sister. They brought us some food, including my absolute Easter favorite, PICKLED EGGS! YES! <happy dance> While I was at work today, I tried not to think about it too much because it was making me salivate, but every once in a while I'd wonder if Mom was going to make some pickled eggs for me--she knows I love them. Well, Mom didn't make them this year, but my sister Diana did! Love you, Di! (I'm going to have to learn how to make pickled eggs, because sometimes I just have to have some.) It made my day to visit with Mom and Dad, and the pickled eggs were the icing on the cake. So to speak.

Speaking of food, I was more than a little grossed out--not to mention agitated--by a story I read in the paper this evening.  

This is a...a thing known as "nutraloaf." Apparently some Vermont prisoners have filed a class-action lawsuit about being served nutraloaf, saying that it is a punishment given to them without benefit of the usual disciplinary process.

Nutraloaf is a delicious mixture of "cubed whole-wheat bread, nondairy cheese, raw carrots, spinach, seedless raisins, beans, vegetable oil, tomato paste, powdered milk and dehydrated potato flakes." Yummy yum! I think the presentation is fabulous, too. Doesn't that picture just make you want to whip up a batch right now?! Apparently, nutraloaf and its cousins aren't anything new to the penal system, and have been used for years as an attempt at behavior modification. While the prisoners' lawyer says that he has no argument with behavior modification, nutraloaf is nothing but punishment without due process. In 1988, a federal judge agreed, and ruled that the Michigan Department of Corrections' use of nutraloaf constituted punishment.

Sounds to me like it actually provides dietary essentials to the prisoners. As Lucy said, "It contains vitamins, meat, megetables, and vinerals."

Before you start feeling too sorry for the prisoners who are served nutraloaf, the "behavior" it is usually used to modify is the throwing of body waste and fluids, such as feces and urine (I'm sure you can think of a couple more), via the trays and silverware provided with usual meals. Nutraloaf is served on a piece of paper, with no utensils, partly taking away the opportunity for "flinging" said waste and fluids.

Would anyone care to ask me if I feel sorry for the prisoners being served nutraloaf? No? Ahh, you know me so well already.

First of all, they are in prison. 99.9% of them (and I'm making that number up, but I bet it's pretty dang close) are there because they have committed a crime.

Second, they ARE being fed. It may be pretty disgusting, in looks and in taste, but it is food, it is nutritious, and they won't starve to death if they eat it. If my Uncle Buck were alive, you could ask him about what he had to eat when he was a prisoner of war in Korea--I bet he would have been happy to have a heapin' helpin' of nutraloaf. For that matter, I bet you could ask my Dad if he would have eaten it when he was in North Africa and their supplies were delayed, and they had almost nothing to eat for a week or so. I bet he would have asked for seconds.

Third, these are prisoners that are slinging stuff at the guards, much like monkeys slinging stuff at zoo patrons. Does anyone remember when Clarice Starling goes to visit Hannibal Lecter in prison for the first time? Think about that and tell me that if you were in her shoes, you wouldn't be slinging a big wad of nutraloaf right back at them and yelling, "Eat THIS!"




cayasm said...

I've never heard of Nutraloaf sounds revolting, however I'm not in prison and therfore do not have to eat as for Pickled Eggs I thinks that worse than the only time people eat them in the UK is when the have Fish and Chips, I had a mental abberation once and ate one on a bet which I won but never

Take care


luvrte66 said...

Yasmin, that made me laugh out loud!

How are the eggs pickled? My Mom and my sister use pickles beets, beet juice, and vinegar to pickle them, so they get a lovely maroon tinge to them. Hey, one woman's pickled egg, another woman's nutraloaf! LOL


buckoclown said...

Pickeledness and Beets in one snack, how can it be bad?  Yuk!!! Not for Bucko :o)

queeniemart said...

Ok, guess i should have read this entry first. You read the same article that i read. I would go hungry before i would eat that nutraloaf. I am glad you got your pickled eggs! Does Ken like them too?
hugs, lisa

aimer said...

Although most of my practice has been in civil litigation, I have spent some time in criminal court and visited prisons on more that one occasion. Compared to some of the treatment of prisoners, feeding them nutraloaf isn't a big deal. However what strikes me the most about prisons is that they are designed to humiliate, denigrate, and dehumanize. Many people think that this is fine because after all, people are in prison to be punished, right? Truth is that the stated objective of the penal system is to rehabilitate prisoners and prepare them to transition back into society. Most people in prison aren't serving a life sentence and will be released at some point. If you treat people as less than human, they will behave as less than human. Eventually, most of the people in prison will be back in mainstream society again. Do we want them to leave prison having been rehabilitated into being productive members of society or even better criminals who live by a code of do unto others before they do unto you? Abuse is not effective behavior modification, unless the behavior that you are trying to encourage is anti-social, anti-humane, interactions with others.--Sheria

justaname4me2 said...

I figure, if you are in prison, you pretty much have to get what you get and stifle complaints unless you are being physically hurt. It certainly has a grotesque appearance doesn't it.
I'm glad you got your pickled eggs and a great Easter.

rdautumnsage said...

Perhaps they would prefer the gruel served up in prisons in the hey day? These days prisoners are given more leisure than they should be on account of, I don't know they're in prison. I don't feel moved to feel sorry for them at all. Other than the violence amongst prisoners, it's a non-issue to me. Glad you were able to have your Pickled Eggs for Easter. If you do come by the recipe, pass it this way please. Doc, loves Pickled Eggs! I just remembered, you can do a happy dance this is the last Easter you will be required to work, how cool is that! (Hugs) Indigo

luvrte66 said...

I agree with Sheria that the purpose of prison is to rehabiliate, and cruel and unusual punishment isn't acceptable. But as she wrote, serving them nutraloaf is really no big deal.

Considering what they're using it for--to keep the utensils and trays away from inmates who are using them for some nasty behavior--I think a little behavior modification is definitely in order. You may be behind bars, but that's no reason to act like an animal.


stratmanj5 said...

Nutraloaf!  Mmmmmmm.   Better than many of them deserve I suspect.  It's missing one ingredient... eggplant!

luvrte66 said...

Heyyyy...eggplant is delicious, versatile, and nutritious! Don't dis my eggplant! :)