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Letter to the Oklahoma Department of Health Regarding Prison Food


Oklahoma Department of Health                                                        James Bauhaus

1000 NE Tenth        Box 220-88367                                                   P. O. Box 220

Oklahoma City, OK 73154                                                                  Hominy, OK 74035

Dear Sir or Ms,

We prisoners are being fed entirely too much baloney.  It contains sodium nitrite, a proven cargcinogen, to prevent botulism bacteria growth. Within twenty years, this practice of saving cents on food will cost many dollars on gastrointestinal problems and cancers. This wave of cancer-incidence has already begun, and you can see the statistical spike if you view the cases going through the hospital that the Department of Corrections uses.

Also our diet is deficient in fresh vegetables. We get almost no salad, and when we do, the `salad’ is nothing more than lettuce Squash, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, etc, are almost non-existent, as is fruit, beyond an occasional apple and grapefruit. This diet is also heavy on ground `meats’, which are mostly unpalatable as the baloney. Fish are also a rarity, as are eggs, cheese and milk. Yesterday, we were to have had chicken butts, but the line ran out, so greedy were the first lines in there to get some meat fit to eat that didn’t give us stomach cramps and diarrhea. Instead of chicken the last line got more ground `meat’ made of tendon, cartilage, ligaments, bone meal and guts. The D.O.C. has its own cattle and dairy industries, chicken and egg farms, as well as produce farms, yet almost none of it gets to us. Rather, the stuff gets sold to other State institutions at a profit, and we get substandard dross and offal in return. I wish you could have seen the `radishes’ that they served to us last week: the crap was ill-washed, uncut, despite the fact that we have virtually free labor, and over 50$ of it was rotten!        We need better quality food that has more B vitamins, more omega III fatty acids (fish), more flavanoids (fruit, particularly citrus). Many people here have not the stomach to continually eat queasy `meats’ such as the ground up whatever it is and the Statemade `baloney’. With the shortage of eggs, this leaves a very precarious position on protein acquisition. If we can’t get at least 115 grams of protein per day from `baloney’ or ground-up `meat’ without wanting to puke, and there is a shortage of eggs, milk and cheese, that only leaves the `vegetables’ which consist of, primarily, carrots, green beans, turnip greens, corn, potatoes and beans. Only occasionally will we get some peas. This gradual and continual pinching off of the nutritive value of the food will exact a heavy health cost down the line. Additionally, these prisoncrats do not ever seem to learn this, or, if they do know this, they act as if they don’t, but the primary cause of prison riots is this exact type of pinching off of the food. As a matter of fact, the last riot they caused here in 1983 was due to the extremely bad condition of the food situation. They apparently were able to hide this real cause, but I was here then, and I know. I hope you will decide to help them despite themselves. Every time they make us riot, _it cost us dearly and benefits them immensely. We have no reason to riot until they force us. Additionally, the kitchen here is infested with cockroaches, the dish machine does not reach the required 180 degree rinse temperature, the trays are used wet, the inmates’ supervisors are apparently so untrained in health procedures that they do not make the inmates stack the trays upside-down so that the water can drain out instead of festering with bacteria. Worse, sometimes these inmates are allowed to serve food onto other captives’ trays by simply grabbing it out of the buckets with their plastic-gloved hands. Obviously these inmates and supervisors should know better than this, and perform such unsanitary acts due to lack of training and lack of supervision by your health department.

Please address these many critical problems, because multiple complaints on each to various levels of in-house authority results in no action what so ever.

Thank you for your assistance.


                                                     James Bauhaus