What Is Nutraloaf, Anyway?

Plus, pruno, “prison pizza,” and more cruel and unusual nourishment

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FEAR AND LOAFING
VERMONT PRISONERS SAY NUTRALOAF IS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL NOURISHMENT. PRISON OFFICIALS SAY IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER.

“Nutraloaf is a ‘food product’ composed of ‘whole wheat bread, non-dairy cheese, raw carrots, spinach, seedless raisins, Great Northern beans, vegetable oil, tomato paste, powdered milk, and dehydrated potato flakes;’ these ingredients are ‘mixed and baked.'” —Vermont appellate court brief, November 2006

“Nutraloaf is neither punishment, nor is its quality inferior to that of regular inmate meals…[It] is only provided to inmates who are placed in segregated confinement for the misuse of food and bodily waste.” —Prison official’s legal memorandum, Vermont Superior Court, September 2005

“If defendant wants to continue to spin out his Orwellian fantasy, and claim that nutraloaf is of the same ‘quality’ as normal prison food, this Court need only order a judicial tasting.” —Prisoners’ memorandum, Vermont Superior Court, September 2005

MEAN CUISINE
Prison moonshine, or pruno, is made by sealing fruit, sugar, ketchup, and water in a garbage bag, often stored inside a toilet for several days.

Tired of mess-hall food, some prisoners prepare “prison pizza”—a crust of ramen noodles and crushed chips or crackers, topped with cheese spread and sausage.

FASHION CRIMES
Inmates in Arizona’s Maricopa County Jail work on chain gangs (tasks include digging graves), wear black-and-white stripes, and are fed two 15-cent meals daily.

Prisoners in South Carolina who masturbate publicly or sexually assault each other or staff are made to wear pink uniforms for 3 months.

CROWD CONTROL
According to a Prison Legal News investigation, overcrowding has caused sewage spills in more than 30 prisons in 17 states, causing wastewater contamination, disease outbreaks, and inmates’ deaths.

San Juan County Detention Center in New Mexico, Georgia’s Hancock State Prison, and Maricopa County Jail house inmates in tents.

The Mojo Prison Guide Menu

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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