Goodness me. According to Yahoo! News:
MONTPELIER, Vt. - When shooting suspect Christopher Williams acted up in prison, he was given nutraloaf — a mixture of cubed whole wheat bread, nondairy cheese, raw carrots, spinach, seedless raisins, beans, vegetable oil, tomato paste, powdered milk and dehydrated potato flakes.
Prison officials call it a complete meal. Inmates say it's so awful they'd rather go hungry.
On Monday, the Vermont Supreme Court will hear arguments in a class action suit brought by inmates who say it's not food but punishment and that anyone subjected to it should get a formal disciplinary process first.
Prison officials see nutraloaf as a tool for behavior modification.
"It's commonplace in other states as a way of providing nutrition in a mechanism that dissuades inmates from throwing feces, urine, trays and silverware," said Vermont Corrections Commissioner Rob Hofmann.
"It tends to have the desired outcome," Hofmann said. "Once the offender relents, we stop with the nutraloaf. That's our goal, to protect our staff and not have them subjected to behavior that the average Vermonter would find incomprehensible."
Those of you who haven't worked in a prison are probably shaking your heads and murmuring "Oh, the poor dears!" (Well, perhaps not.)
On the other hand, those of you who've experienced this environment (on the right side of the law, I hasten to add) are probably sniggering and murmuring "Suck it up, punk!" Me, too.
You see, there's a class of criminal that takes delight in flinging all sorts of stuff at passing correctional officers, psychologists, chaplains and others. Sometimes (if we're lucky) it's only food. Other times it's urine and feces.
Some of them even go so far as to wait until women staff are on duty, then strip naked and masturbate, trying to time their orgasm for when a woman passes the bars of their cells so that they can spray her with the effluent (and I use that word deliberately, as many of them test positive for the most nauseating diseases).
If nutraloaf or other means can help to correct such behavior (and they don't in all too many cases, I'm sorry to say) then I'm all for using them. Yes, it's a punishment - and it's richly deserved. Believe me, inmates don't get put on this diet unless they deserve it. Furthermore, whilst it may not be very tasty, it satisfies all nutritional requirements: so inmates can't complain that their health will suffer from eating it and nothing else.
After all, what other punishments can we use? Send them to jail? They're there already!
Let me tell you a fairy story. You understand, of course, that This Never Happened and it's totally A Figment Of My Imagination. Right?
Once upon a time, there was a prison. This prison had an Isolation Unit for the Very Bad Boys among its inmates. These Very Bad Boys were in the habit of behaving towards female staff members as described above, particularly concerning masturbation.
Lo, one day an outside (visiting) chaplain did arrive to provide counsel to the Very Bad Boys (not that they wanted to hear him, of course). During his visit some of the female staff did complain to the visitor concerning the actions of the Very Bad Boys and ask for advice concerning the matter.
The visitor did opine that he had noticed several cans of aerosol air freshener in the control room of the Isolation Unit. The female staff agreed, observing that since most of the Very Bad Boys didn't bother to shower and threw noxious substances around the Isolation Unit (and upon them) with gay abandon, such aids to breathing were all too frequently necessary.
The visitor noted, casually, that aerosol cans of brake parts cleaner (available from the Fairy Supermarket down the road) looked identical in shape and color to the cans of air freshener - at least, from a distance, and probably also on the television security cameras of the Isolation Unit. He further mentioned, casually, that brake parts cleaner was renowned for its deflationary and other effects upon tender portions of the male anatomy.
The visitor and the female guards did look upon one another and smile evilly . . . and the visitor took his leave.
When he returned a couple of weeks later he found the female guards much more cheerful, and the Isolation Unit much quieter than usual. The normal screams, shouts and imprecations of the inmates were strangely absent.
When he inquired concerning this unnatural stillness, he was informed that large quantities of "air freshener" had been employed to "adjust the attitudes" of some of the Very Bad Boys. Some of them had been very ungrateful about this, and had lodged formal complaints of assault and use of chemical weapons by the female staff: but video from surveillance cameras proved conclusively that only normal air freshener (an approved, non-weapon product) had been used in the Isolation Unit. The air freshener cans were recognizable by their shape and color, although the labels couldn't be read on the low-resolution pictures. The male members (and surrounding areas) of the complainants had been examined for evidence, but had shown only a nasty red rash (probably from rampant self-abuse). The complainants alleged that the rash was the result of the "chemical weapons" and demanded to know why no-one had reported their screams of anguish - but the security video cameras didn't record sounds, only pictures. Given the lack of evidence, all complaints were dismissed.
The visitor also noted that the female officers no longer bothered to bring spare uniforms to work in case they needed to change, and were now treated with great respect and obedience by the Very Bad Boys.