A lot of U.S. prisons serve Nutraloaf — which is also known as “disciplinary loaf” — to inmates who misbehave, often three times a day. Nutraloaf recipes vary but often involve tomato paste, beans, and potato flakes baked into a flavorless brick served warm or at room temperature.
Non-prisoners (and even one food critic) have sampled that brick to see what inmates go through. Brave staffers at the Glens Falls Post-Star even ate the loaf on camera and described it to people who aren’t so adventurous.
“Oh that’s horrible. Oh my God,” the Post-Star’s Jon Alexander said. “I just see it as being a really great way to lose weight. It’s the lack of flavour is what makes it so bad. It’s like chewing on chalk.”
Others have tried Nutraloaf, too.
It’s hard to imagine anybody eating more than a bite.
Why isn’t making somebody gag cruel and unusual punishment?
Prisoners have filed lawsuits over Nutraloaf but have been unsuccessful in getting it banned. In a handwritten lawsuit, a Washington state prisoner named Tommy Lynn Lewis called Nutraloaf “a little punishment block, not meant to eat.”
The main impediment to getting that “punishment block” banned is its nutritional value. It has vegetables, protein, and roughly 1,100 calories.
“The Eighth Amendment [which bans cruel and unusual punishment] requires only that prisoners receive food that is adequate to maintain health,” an Illinois appeals court ruled. “It need not be tasty or aesthetically pleasing.”
In case you want to try this healthful recipe at home, here’s the recipe for Nutraloaf provided in that court opinion.
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