After reading “On the Record With…Ron Finley” as told to Amy Elisa Keith, I came across what I thought was an accurate description of communities that lack proper food accessibility: food prison. Finely asserts, “From Chicago to Philadelphia to New Orleans and back, there are “food prisons.” I don’t just call them “food deserts,” they are prisons because you have to escape to find anything healthy”.
This, weirdly enough, led me to think about food that is served in prison…and then I cam across an article “Appalling Prison and Jail Food Leaves Prisoners Hungry for Justice.” In this article, David M. Reutter, Gary Hunter, and Brandon Sample explored the prison food systems. Citing numerous injustices in states ranging from Texas, Ohio, Chicago, they highlighted “Boston’s Suffolk County House of Correction for Women, where a grant has been used to teach women prisoners how to prepare and eat healthier meals.”
This little dynamic prompted me to think further about the power of food, space, and attitude. For Boston, “the core objective of our program is instilling a sense of empowerment and to build their sense of self-esteem” (Christina Ruccio) and for other states it was about cutting back In Alabama, it seemed to be about getting the extra since sheriffs could pocket unspent funds.
While Sheriff Tim Mueller asserts, “If they [prisoners] don’t like the food, they should stay out of jail,” the question of food justice arises. Are we then as a society punishing individuals with food? If prison is about rehabilitation, is Boston’s model something we should be following?