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Can Food Be A Tool For Soft Control?

As part of Food for Thinkers week, Bryan Finoki turns the attention of food writing onto incarcerated cuisine.

Stephen Fortune
Stephen Fortune on April 29, 2011.

In a fascinating entry at GOOD Bryan Finoki discusses the use of bland food as the best disciplinary tool available to prison wardens. He provides a case study of prison loaf, or the social management meal as it is also known.

The cardboard-like lasagna, as some have described it, is served on a paper plate and eaten with the hands, and has gained much popularity as the prison’s disciplinary device of choice today. One pound loaves, served three times daily, for a maximum of two weeks at a time, seems to be the general rule, but again each facility does the loaf in its own very special way

It provides an illuminating insight into how taste – bud deprivation can be used to coral even the most cantankerous inmates into submission and highlights the power of food to both build community as well as enforce control.

GOOD: “Wanted: Prison Food Writers”

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