After binge watching ever episode of Orange is the New Black in about 2.5 days, I really wanted to learn more about the prison food. Trust me, it’s nothing like you see on T.V., Red would not be proud of this food. So, here’s a few facts about what food in jail is actually like.
1. Some prisons spend as little as $.56 on a meal
That $10 you just spent on that fancy pressed juice could feed about 20 inmates. Prisons have been drastically cutting down on the cost of food. Very few prisons exceed $2 a day, most stick to about $1.
2. The Nutraloaf is real
Remember that chunk of gross produce mashed together that’s on every prison show? It’s real, and it’s horribly nasty. It’s 1,100 calories and has been said to taste “blank.”
3. Many inmates are malnourished
With these meals, you probably wouldn’t want to eat the whole thing either, but even if you do, you’re still not getting enough vitamins and calories. Many prisoners lose a ton of weight, and if you pair that with all the work they do all day, they become malnourished.
4. Men and women get ‘hangry’ in prison
This isn’t normal “I want my Chipotle” hangry, this is “I will cut you” hangry. Everyone knows what it’s like to get hangry, but imagine being in prison, living off of two crappy meals a day, and someone does something to make you mad..
5. In some states, sheriffs can keep excess state funds
You read that right. People in control of the funds are allowed to keep extra money. So, obviously they cut corners and try to find the cheapest way possible to get the job done. That’s pretty much why the meals are so bad. In Alabama a sheriff got jailed for pocketing $200,000.
6. Most inmates are only fed twice a day
Most prisons clump breakfast and lunch together. And then there’s your average dinner around 5pm. Most inmates go half the day without eating, becoming malnourished and sick.
7. Commissary is everything
Of course you can only get commissary if you have friends or family on the outside putting money in your account. Prisons do let inmates buy some regulated items like chips and candy. However, these obviously don’t add much nutritional value to the diet.
8. Weekend ‘brunch’ isn’t as glamorous as it sounds
Prions have found a great way of keeping costs low by combining meals on the weekends and calling it brunch. Of course it’s not your normal amazing brunch. It’s some toast and maybe some mystery meat.
9. People do actually fake being Jewish
The microwavable kosher meals are so much better than the actual food that many people do try and fake being Jewish. They do have to pass some sort of test, but it still goes to show what lengths people will go to.
10. Don’t worry, you can still get coffee
Coffee has always been a beverage option for inmates. Now, it may not be as good as Dunkin’ coffee, but it’ll have to do when you’re in prison.
11. Prisoners still eat better than people on the street
It’s the sad truth that inmates eat better than the homeless. They’re guaranteed at least two meals a day that have some nutritional value while people on the streets fend for themselves.
T.V. shows might make it seem dramatic and interesting, but the reality is quite different. Inmates are starving, they aren’t getting enough nourishment to get through the day. And, it’s completely legal for some prisons to neglect the health of the inmates. Basically, try not to get sent to prison.