Since 2003, inmates have experienced a variety of new health problems, including constipation, diarrhea, pains after eating, vomiting, thyroid problems, weight gain, breast development (among men), persistent infertility, and depression. Some of the prisoners who have complained about the new diet were retaliated against by the prison officials.
In 2008, the Weston A. Price Foundation took up the cause of soy in prison diets. They retained lawyer Gary Cox to help a number of inmates file seeking a permanent injunction against soy in their meals, on 8th ammendment (cruel and unusual punishment) and 14th ammendment (deprivation of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law) grounds.
Today WAPF held a press luncheon in Chicago to publicize the case.
From left to right: Sally Fallon (President, WAPF), Jeffrey Smith (author, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods), Gary Cox (the lawyer representing the inmates), and Thomas Salonis (poet and former inmate in the Illinois prison system).
Reasons we should care:
- By some measures, up to 1/3 of the Illinois prison population is estimated to be innocent, and up to another 1/3 oversentenced.
- Even genuine wrong-doers do not deserve the punishment of being forced to eat inadequate food.
- This is not limited to Illinois; similar diets are popping up in prisons in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and California.
- Children are next. Illinois is testing the waters with a high-soy diet in schools, where it will have even more noticeable, and more permanent, effects on physical development, fertility, and health.
more videos on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=soy+prison
pictures on twitter: http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23soyprison
pictures on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ammichaels/sets/72157622667256029/
I haven't even done justice to the geneitically modified soy angle. More for another time.
This is the nexus of food, sustainability, and social justice.
Stay tuned for more from the Weston A. Price Foundation Wise Traditions conference.
Here are the videos taken at the press conference. Moving testimony was given by a homeless former inmate. You will want to watch these.
Feel free to use these pictures if you want to blog or write a press article about the lawsuit. She has granted permission for you to do so!