Insufficiency of Nutritional Values in Our Prison Systems

Insufficiency of Nutritional Values in Our Prison Systems. The Insufficiency of Nutritional Values in Our Prison Systems: A Proposal and Annotated Bibliography. Diet is an important contributor to a range of health conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, dental disease, and osteoporosis [6]. Evidence continues to accumulate that consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of a variety of cancers [7] [8];cardiovascular [8]diseases. Nutritional status includes environmental, economic, biological, educational, and cultural factors, as well as issues pertaining to food security.Nutritional status directly affects the prisoner in items of physical and mental health development.The main medical conditions for which prisoners are treated include diarrhea and dysentery (42%), fever, including typhoid fever (25%) skin disease (20%), malnutrition (8%), psychological problems (1.5%) and heart problems (1%). The high frequency of diarrhea and skin disease is due to poor sanitation conditions prevailing inside prisons.

Insufficiency of Nutritional Values in Our Prison Systems

The health of prisoners is influenced and determined bymany factors acting in variouscombinations. Factors such as cigarette smoking or low socioeconomic status increase the risk of ill health and are commonly termed ‘risk factors’ [10]. Psychological and social deprivation, smoking and illicit drug useoften underpinned. Body piercing, gambling, insufficient exercise and poor diet are additional risk factors. These behavioursthreatenprisoner health and may lead to chronic diseases, illness and even death. Prisoners have a high prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, including elevated blood glucose levels, high cholesterol, high blood pressureand also obesity [11]

The downturn in prison food quality can be blamed on larger trends toward industrialization and privatization. Industrialization, as exemplified by Washington state prisons, replaces cooking from scratch with processed foods that may only require reheating before serving. “When the Department of Corrections turned over responsibility for food services to Correctional Industries…, it substituted 95% industrialized, plastic-wrapped, sugar-filled ‘food products’ for locally prepared healthy food.”

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