Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Mary Bosworth & Jim Thomas
The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently ruled that prisoners have the right to an adequate and varied diet, including the right to tailor meals to religious prescriptions and medical needs. However, the provision of food in prison often remains a sore point for inmates. Problems include food and preparation quality, portion sizes, and the temperature at which it is served. Traditionally, food was used in prisons as a means of reward and punishment. In the 19th century, for example, incoming prisoners were often served bread and water until they had earned the right for such luxuries as meat or cheese. In the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, breakfast was sparse and monotonous, consisting of coffee, cocoa, or green tea, and a mix of bread and Indian mush. The primary meal at midday consisted of substantial portions of boiled pork or beef, soup, potatoes or rice, sauerkraut, and tea. Indian mush ...