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Vermont Prisoners Say One Food Is Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Unruly prisoners in the state of Vermont refer to one particular meal as “mean cuisine.” That’s because it contains whole wheat bread, non-dairy cheese, raw carrots, spinach, seedless raisins, Great Northern beans, vegetable oil, tomato paste, powdered milk, and dehydrated potato flakes that are mixed and baked — otherwise known as “Nutraloaf.” The flavorless brick is then served at room temperature. Those who have tasted it say it’s hard to imagine anybody eating more than a bite of it. The only thing that has kept the unappealing brick from being banned is its nutritional value. It has vegetables, protein, and roughly 1,100 calories. The 8th Amendment — which bans cruel and unusual punishment — requires only that prisoners receive food that is “adequate to maintain health” — it need not be tasty or aesthetically pleasing. The good thing is that it’s only served to inmates who are placed in solitary confinement for misuse of food and bodily waste. Bon appétit!