‘Prison loaf’ you can eat with a spork | NevadaAppeal.com

‘Prison loaf’ you can eat with a spork

Terri Harber

Prison is no picnic. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be for lawbreakers. But if you reside in one of Nevada’s prisons, the amount of money spent to feed you each day seems, well, criminal.

The meals they serve aren’t even worth what most Americans pay for a fast-food lunch. Not even if that lunch comes from McDonald’s. A Happy Meal at good old Mickey D’s must cost more than $2.29, the amount of money Nevada spends currently on its prison inmates’ meals each day.

Three meals. Not one.

And they don’t get any toys! If the prisoners each didn’t get the same toy or meals, for example, there probably would be taunting, arguments, bullying and fistfights, just like on the schoolyard.

One major difference between the schoolyard and the prison yard is there likely wouldn’t be a rash of shankings with plastic forks, spoons or the fast-food hybrid utensils — sporks (spoons with tines like forks) — if students didn’t get the toys or meals they thought they deserved.

Some of our state lawmakers have proposed to cut the amount of money for prisoners’ meals. It doesn’t sound like a huge cut; it’s just the inflation raise of 5 percent. Department of Corrections officials are worried about the repercussions this type of reduction would bring.

According to the department, the average allocation of $2.29 to feed each Nevada prisoner is far below the average of $4.41 to feed each prisoner in most other western states.

That amount is even less than what the state pays to feed each juvenile it has incarcerated: about $5.25, according to articles in the Nevada Appeal.

Even wild horses get more money spent on them by the state for their meals than the adult prisoners: about $2.50 a day, said Gov. Kenny Guinn in response to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee’s planned food budget reduction.

The committee’s move seems to be a spiteful response to written criticism by a high-ranking employee of the Department of Corrections. It must have been an incredibly nasty letter that caused grown lawmakers to become so angry they would want to punish all of the employees of the prison system.

You might be thinking to yourself, “That prison official must have called some lawmaker’s mom a @#$% &%$#!” Nope. All the letter writer did was accuse legislative staffers of having a “retaliatory attitude” toward the food budget.

It doesn’t appear to be a good idea to loan some of our state lawmakers a spork. They might turn around and use it as a shank if you tell them, for example, that it would be a more pleasant meal if they ate with their mouths closed.

People who work in prisons know food is a big deal to inmates. The Department of Corrections offered not to hire 14 new employees in exchange for the inflation increase in its food budget, citing the importance of adequate meals for prisoners in maintaining overall security.

Corrections officials also emphasize that food prices are rising fast here in Nevada: 2 percent during the first two months of this year alone. Not allowing for an increase would quickly end up being a decrease.

Prisoners have rioted over bad food in facilities around the country. Why put Nevada’s prison guards in peril because some people over at the Legislature had their feelings hurt?

To the Assembly Ways and Means Committee: Your mothers wear army boots! And so do all your legislative assistants’ moms!

This wouldn’t constitute a very happy meal, but it has all the required vitamins and nutrients that Maryland requires its prisoners be served. Prison officials in Baltimore call these blah blocks of nutrition “Special Management Meals.” The meals are served as punishment to prisoners who misbehave.

Better known as a “Prison Loaf,” the prisoners themselves call it something that can’t be printed here, though the name might look something like “@#$% &%$#!”

Some people would consider themselves lucky to have anything to eat — even this — but lawbreakers are locked up for a lot of reasons. Idiocy and selfishness usually factor into their criminal choices. If you dare, grab a spork and dig in. Unless you’re a Nevada lawmaker — then it’s hands only!

Recipe for “Prison Loaf”

(Yield – Three Loaves)

— 6 slices whole wheat bread, finely chopped

— 4 ounces imitation cheddar cheese, finely grated

— 4 ounces raw carrots, finely grated

— 12 ounces spinach, canned, drained

— 2 cups dried Great Northern Beans, soaked, cooked and drained

— 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

— 6 ounces potato flakes, dehydrated

— 6 ounces tomato paste

— 8 ounces powdered skim milk

— 4 ounces raisins

Mix all ingredients in a 12-quart mixing bowl. Make sure all wet items are drained. Mix until stiff, just moist enough to spread. Form three loaves in glazed bread pans. Place loaf pans in the oven on a sheet pan filled with water, to keep the bottom of the loaves from burning. Bake at 325 degrees in a convection oven for approximately 45 minutes. The loaf will start to pull away from the sides of the bread pan when done.