Sunday, September 8, 2013


We just finished watching Orange is the New Black the other day. Once you get past being angry at Piper's privilege and what you think is going to be some ridiculous racial stereotypes about women in prison, the show is really very good. And it highlights some of the most messed up things about prison life in a way that no other popular show has for a mass audience.

I was psyched to see them deal with solitary confinement (or extreme isolation) in one episode. One of the punishments used in solitary is to feed prisoners "the loaf" (or "nutraloaf" as it's sometimes called) -- a horrible slice of tasteless flour and scraps that barely provides any nutrition whatsoever. (This is Piper confronting "the loaf" for the first time).

My blogs are usually about tasty foods, but I thought this might be a good occasion to depart from the norm and talk about this distinctively unsavory dish.

Tomorrow (September 9th) is the 42nd anniversary of the Attica prison riots, and I thought it might be a good occasion to re-post a blog entry from a colleague in the New York State Legislature: Dianna Goodwin, who engages in some participatory advocacy by providing us with a recipe for the loaf, and making some herself. Thanks, Dianna. She also provides a helpful summary of what the Attica rebellion was all about. Read it (and weep) here.

It's time to end extreme isolation -- in New York State and everywhere else. My colleagues at the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union worked to limit the use of solitary confinement for immigrants, and were successful in their endeavors this week. (Read about that here). But there's more work to do. You can read NYCLU's report about the use of extreme isolation in New York State here.  Food punishment like serving prisoners "the loaf" is a barbaric and harmful practice--and this is just one type of punishment prisoners endure. It must end. Join the campaign to end the practice of extreme isolation today.

No comments: