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Prison Food Law by Cyrus Naim 2005

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Prison Food Law
Cyrus Naim
Food & Drug Law
Spring, 2005
Abstract:
This paper examines the history and current framework of prison food law. Whereas food law
generally is the result of a complex maze of national, state, and local statutory and regulatory
law, prison food is primarily regulated by the courts through adjudication of the Eighth
Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. This discrepancy is explained by the
very different political realities faced by prison reform. At the same time, the result is both
ineffective and counterproductive. The lack of serious legislation on the issue means that the law
is written anyway, only it is done by courts that lack the requisite expertise and resources to do
so competently.
Ove
rt
womi
l
l
i
oni
ndi
vi
d
ua
l
sa
r
ei
nc
a
r
c
e
r
a
t
e
di
nourna
t
i
on’
spr
i
s
ons
.The
s
epe
opl
edonot eat or
sleep without the leave of government agents. Given their isolated state and the importance of
government action in their lives, food law would seem to be uniquely important to their wellbeing. Yet very little of what we would consider food law actually applies to them.
Food law in the United States is both extensive and detailed. The federal Food and Drug
Administration and state departments of health have created a robust and complex regulatory
system to ensure the safety of the food supply. Each link in the chain of food distribution is
examined to ensure that the final product is both sanitary and of high quality. Inspectors visit the
grain silos, then the mills, the bakeries, the warehouses, and finally the eating establishments. As
one writ
e
rput
si
t
,“
Thi
se
nor
mi
t
yofr
e
g
ul
a
t
i
ona
tt
hef
e
de
r
a
l
,s
t
a
t
e
,a
ndl
oc
a
ll
e
ve
l
s
,wi
t
hs
e
ve
r
a
l
federal agencies, many more than fifty state agencies, and hundreds of local agencies enforcing
va
r
i
ousl
a
wsi
sag
e
ne
r
a
l
l
ya
c
c
e
pt
e
df
a
c
tofl
i
f
e
.
”
[1]
Yet this system, powerful as it is, does not make it past the prison door. It is available only to
free citizens. Prison food law is an altogether different beast, primarily a product of prison law
generally. Legislatures have essentially adopted a laissez-faire approach, leaving wardens to run
their prisons as they see fit. It is prison administrators who decide what to serve inmates, how
often, and whether they will choose to run their own inspections at all. The only accountability
they face is in the courts, as a matter of Constitutional law, and even this is a relatively recent
occurrence. Where food law is powerful and complex, prison law (and thereby, prison food law)
is messy and weak.

It is the purpose of this paper to analyze and explore this divergence, and to help explain why it
exists. Unfortunately, given the profound differences between the two types of law, there is no
easy way to go about this. In first outlining what I wanted to say, I attempted to find a dichotomy
by which to demonstrate the differences between these regimes. I found that to be impossible.
Ther
ul
e
s
,
s
our
c
e
sofl
a
w,pur
pos
e
,f
o
c
us
,me
a
nsofe
nf
or
c
e
me
nt
,e
f
f
e
c
t
i
ve
ne
s
s
,t
he
y
’
r
ea
l
l
different from the standard food law regime. Lining them up on one axis can only oversimplify
the various, and often subtle, ways in which they differ.
Instead, I will be taking a scattershot approach, discussing each important difference in its own
time. Hopefully, the result is, while not neat, still a better representation of the law as it is, and all
the reasons that it has grown in this particular way. Here then, is an outline of the course this
paper will take.
I will first discuss the histories of these two types of law, as far back as they go. Such histories
will, of course, necessarily be brief. Entire books could easily be written on each history alone.
The purpose here is not comprehensiveness, though I hope to at least mention nearly all of the
most important aspects of each. Instead, these histories are intended to begin to draw out the
different ways in which these bodies of law have been born, and to facilitate later comparison.
Having done so, I will then briefly look at exactly what the law of prison food is today.
In the next section I will discuss the fact that prison law has much less political support than food
law, and look at some of the possible reasons for this state of affairs. In doing so, I will discuss
several theories for the current disinterest in prison reform, touching on race, psychology, voting
patterns, and the purposes for which prisons exist in the first place. I conclude that, while there
are good reasons to have less law on prison conditions than on food, there is very little (good)
reason for this difference to apply to prison food in particular.
Third, I will discuss how enforcement mechanisms vary between food law and prison food law,
and how much weaker enforcement is in the prison system. Some of these differences are
necessary, a result of the fact that different solutions are required in an institutional setting than
in an open marketplace. The current means of enforcement of prison law, however, is more a
result of the political realities it faces. Using courts as a means of oversight results in a host of
problems that could be avoided if other solutions were considered.
Finally, I will briefly discuss some of the ways prison food law differs in substance from food
law generally. Issues unique to incarceration complicate the normal questions involved. The fact
that prison is a form of punishment, for example, must be considered when devising the
appropriate rules. This section is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather to highlight how the
f
oc
usofpr
i
s
onf
oodl
a
w,t
he“
f
e
e
l
,
”doe
snotma
t
c
h up with food law.
By going through each of these sections, I believe a fairly good understanding of the nature of
prison food law can be achieved. Before I begin, however, I would like to make two small notes:
First, while this paper is on the topic of prison food, I will often speak of prison law generally. I
want to make clear that this is necessary because of the way in which prison food is inextricably
intertwined with larger prison issues. Having discussed those, I will then return to prison food in
particular. Second, throughout this paper, I will refer to the Rhode Island prison system as an

example of the way things are done, and problems with the current regime. I want to make it
clear that this is emphatically not because I believe it to be an example of a bad prison. On the
contrary, I believe the administrators there to be highly caring individuals who have established a
very well run prison. Rather, this is simply because I have already done research on this prison
for an earlier paper. I therefore have both specific knowledge of its inner workings that will be
useful here, and contacts there that were gracious enough to speak with me again on the issues
facing prison food. Having made these two points, I now move on to the first part of the paper,
the histories of each system of law.
History of Food Law
Food law has a long and established history. Indeed, the first laws regulating the adulteration of
food date back thousands of years. In the Roman Empire, a general law banning the fraudulent
sale of merchandise included a prohibition on the sale of adulterated food. Termed stellionatus,
t
het
r
a
ns
g
r
e
s
s
i
onwa
s“
c
ompa
r
a
bl
et
oac
i
vi
lof
f
e
ns
eunde
rpr
e
s
e
ntl
a
w.
.
.
[
Convi
c
t
i
on]r
e
s
ul
t
e
di
n
such punishment as condemnation to the mines or temporary exile.”
[2] There were no similar
laws during the Dark Ages, but food law was reestablished by the Thirteenth Century, with the
Eng
l
i
s
hPa
r
l
i
a
me
nte
na
c
t
i
ngs
t
a
t
ut
e
sp
r
ohi
bi
t
i
ng“
t
hes
a
l
eofa
ny‘
c
or
r
upt
e
dwi
ne
’orofa
nyme
a
t
,
f
i
s
h,br
e
a
d,orwa
t
e
rt
ha
twa
snot‘
whol
e
s
omef
orma
n’
sbody
’ort
ha
twa
ske
pts
ol
ong‘
t
ha
ti
t
l
os
e
t
hi
t
sna
t
ur
a
lwhol
e
s
ome
ne
s
s
.
’
”
[3] At the same time, local laws were passed to add further
protections, and a common law developed creating both civil and criminal penalties for
adulteration of food.[4]
In 1820, the first book introducing modern techniques to identify food adulteration was
published. Written by Frederick Accum, Treatise on Adulterations of Food and Culinary Poisons
wa
s“
a
ni
mme
di
a
t
ea
ndwor
l
dwi
des
u
c
c
e
s
s
.
”
[5] The book detailed both the various methods
sellers used to increase their profits through diluting or adding fillers to the foods they sold, and
possible methods of discovering such adulteration. Interestingly, though it might seem to be
wr
i
t
t
e
nonas
ome
wha
tdr
yt
opi
c
,i
twa
sc
ove
r
e
dbyne
ws
pa
pe
r
sa
ndwa
sknownt
o“
t
hepubl
i
c
e
ve
r
y
whe
r
e
.
”
[6] His book, and the copycats that followed, were largely responsible for the
enactment of the first examples of modern food regulation.[7]
When the American colonies were established, they inherited what was already a somewhat
r
obus
tf
oodl
a
w.“
Ea
r
l
yc
ol
oni
a
ll
a
wswe
r
e
,i
nde
e
d,i
ndi
s
t
i
ng
ui
s
ha
bl
ef
r
om t
hos
et
ha
tpr
e
va
i
l
e
di
n
England at the time. American common law similarly developed on the basis of English
pr
e
c
e
de
nt
.
”
[8] Through independence, these food laws persisted.[9] Our food law, thus, has been
with us since the first colonists came to America, and the notion of a food law has been around
for thousands of years.
Food law took another step forward with the creation of local boards of health by the end of the
nineteenth century.[10] Congress became involved in this process in 1879. A yellow fever
outbreak focused public awareness on the issue. Congress acted by establishing a National Board
ofHe
a
l
t
ht
o“
a
s
s
i
s
tl
oc
a
lg
ove
r
nme
nt
si
na
ddr
e
s
s
i
nghe
a
l
t
ha
nds
a
ni
t
a
t
i
oni
s
s
ue
s
.
”
[11] Today,
t
he
s
eboa
r
dsofhe
a
l
t
ha
r
ei
ns
t
r
ume
nt
a
li
ne
ns
ur
i
ngt
hena
t
i
on’
sf
oodqua
l
i
t
y
.TheFDAi
s
concerned primarily with foods that enter interstate commerce. Eating establishments, then, are
out of their purview. Inspections of such establishments, including restaurants, hotels, schools,

etc., are done at the state or local level.[12] Given the proliferation of restaurants in the past
several decades, the role of these local boards has become increasingly important.[13]
The next major advance in food law came in 1906. Upton Sinclair, a socialist writer, published
his manifesto, The Jungle.[14] Written primarily as an attack on capitalism, it included a detailed
description of the plight of men working in the meat-packing industry. Unfortunately for
Sinclair, the public largely ignored his central point. Instead, it focused on his discussion of the
disgusting conditions in which their food was produced. This book, and the newspaper articles
that followed, crea
t
e
da“
f
i
r
e
s
t
or
m ofp
ubl
i
ci
ndi
gna
t
i
on.
”
[15] The public demanded regulation
of the sanitation of those places where food was produced. This then was largely responsible for
the first major national legislation on food law:[16] The Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906.[17]
Not only that, it also inspired passage of the first Meat Inspection Act.[18] As Sinclair later said,
“
Ia
i
me
da
tt
hepubl
i
c
'
she
a
r
ta
ndbya
c
c
i
de
ntIhi
ti
ti
nt
hes
t
oma
c
h.
”
[19]
The Pure Food and Drugs Act was, for the time, wide-ranging in scope. It outlawed adding
anything to food that was either unsafe, or was intended as a filler to cheapen the product.[20]
Likewise, removing anything of value from a product was declared illegal, as was selling food
that had expired.[21] In addition, it forbid the mislabeling of any food product (defined as
including any statements intended to deceive or mislead the purchaser).[22] The Bureau of
Chemistry of the Department of Agriculture was authorized to test foods to ensure that they did
not violate these strictures.[23] When violations were found, the Bureau was ordered to notify
the local U.S. Attorney for appropriate prosecution. Violations could be punished by as much as
ay
e
a
ri
npr
i
s
on,oraf
i
neofupt
o$500(
ove
r$10,
000i
nt
oda
y
’
sc
ur
r
e
nc
y
)
.
[24] Although there
was some debate in individual cases about whether a certain additive was dangerous or a filler,
on the whole there was marked improvement in the food supply. The clearest violations were
very quickly stopped.[25]
By 1933, the FDA had been formed to take over enforcement of the Pure Food and Drugs
Act.[26] I
tf
oundt
heAc
t
’
spr
ovi
s
i
onswa
nt
i
ngi
ns
e
ve
r
a
lr
e
s
pe
c
t
s
:I
tdi
dnotg
i
vet
he
administrators authority to set standard definitions of foods (and thereby create a simple and
easily enforceable method of regulating mislabeling of foods), and it did not allow for the agency
to affirmatively require specific labeling provisions.[27] It lobbied for these changes without
result for five years.[28]
A new Food and Drug Act was only passed in 1938. Again, the main reason for congressional
action was public outrage. The Massengill Company, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, sold a drug
known as sulfanilamide to treat streptococcal infections.[29] Used in pill or powder form, it was
both safe and effective. When the corporation found out that there was demand for a liquid form
of the drug, it dissolved the drug in the liquid diethylene glycol.[30] Elixir Sulfanilamide, as it
was called, was tested for flavor, fragrance, and appearance, and then immediately shipped for
public consumption in 1937.[31] It was not, however, tested for toxicity. Under the 1906 law
Massengill had no obligation to do so.[32] Had it tested for safety, it would have discovered that
diethylene glycol, now used as antifreeze, is a deadly poison.[33]
When the FDA got the first reports of deaths linked to the drug, a massive recall effort ensued,
but it was already too late for many.[34] All told, over 100 people died after consuming the

drug.[35] Yet, even afterward, there was not much the FDA could do to punish the corporation.
Even to get the authority to recall the drug, it was forced to charge the company with
“
mi
s
br
a
ndi
ng
,
”unde
rt
het
he
or
yt
ha
tt
het
e
r
m“
e
l
i
xi
r
”i
mpl
i
e
dt
ha
tt
hes
ol
u
t
i
onwa
sa
n
alcohol.[36] I
fi
tha
dbe
e
ns
ol
da
sme
r
e
l
y“
Sol
ut
i
onSul
f
a
ni
l
a
mi
de
,
”t
he FDA would have had no
authority to take action.[37] TheMa
s
s
e
ng
i
l
lCompa
ny
’
sonl
ypuni
s
hme
ntwa
saf
i
neof$26
,
100
for misbranding.[38]
The tragedy, and the public fear that followed, finally encouraged Congress to act. In 1938 it
enacted the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act[39] primarily because of the sulfanilamide
disaster.[40] The new law was far more elaborate than its predecessor, and was four times as
long.[41] I
ta
ddr
e
s
s
e
dbot
hpr
e
vi
ousc
onc
e
r
nswi
t
ht
he1906Pur
eFooda
ndDr
ug
sAc
t
:“
i
t
authorized the FDA to establish mandatory food standards...[and] to require additional label
i
nf
or
ma
t
i
on.
”
[42] But it went even further: It strengthened the strictures against adulteration and
misbranding by increasing penalties.[43] It authorized courts to issue injunctions against illegal
practices.[44] Finally, it mandated that labels include a list of ingredients (and certain other
information).[45]
Since then, American food law has gone through several changes, though none so major as the
1938a
c
t
.Mos
tnot
a
bl
y
,t
he
r
ewa
saf
i
g
hti
nt
he1960’
sove
rwhe
t
her, and to what extent, foods
could be fortified with vitamins. The FDA considered over-fortification a possible danger, as
ignorant consumers might overdose on some vitamins, or buy fortified foods under the mistaken
notion that such fortification would a
ut
oma
t
i
c
a
l
l
yma
ket
he
m“
he
a
l
t
hy
.
”
[46] As a result, it
originally adopted a policy restricting such fortification.[47] Nevertheless, President Nixon got
i
nvol
ve
di
n1969,a
s
s
e
mbl
i
nga“
Whi
t
eHous
eConf
e
r
e
nc
eonFood,Nut
r
i
t
i
ona
ndHe
a
l
t
h.
”
[48]
TheConf
e
r
e
nc
er
e
por
t
’
sf
i
na
l recommendations involved encouraging fortification.[49] Since
t
he
n,t
heFDA’
spol
i
c
i
e
smove
df
r
oml
i
mi
t
i
ngf
or
t
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
ont
ome
r
e
l
yr
e
qui
r
i
ngg
r
e
a
t
e
rl
a
be
l
i
ng
,
and ensuring that advertising is not misleading.[50]
Though there are many more laws that have been passed affecting food, there are only a few
more that I wish to point out. These include: The Kefauver-Harris Amendments,[51] requiring
proof of efficacy for all new drugs, that were precipitated by the thalidomide tragedy in
1962.[52] The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act,[53] passed in 1966, mandated that food labels
c
onf
or
mt
oc
e
r
t
a
i
ns
pe
c
i
f
i
cr
e
qui
r
e
me
n
t
s
.“
Virtually every label on every food product in the
Uni
t
e
dSt
a
t
e
sha
dt
obec
ha
nge
d”a
sar
e
s
ul
t
.
[54] In 1977, Congress responded to complaints by
the consumers and manufacturers of saccharin, and overruled an FDA regulation banning the
additive.[55] Finally, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act[56] in
1994, as a result of an amazing groundswell of opposition to FDA regulation of dietary
supplements.[57]
There is certainly more to food law than I have stated here. Indeed, I have completely ignored
those important events that took place within the FDA alone (i.e., without congressional input),
and only lightly touched on the state laws affecting food that are every bit as important as the
federal. The history presented here is focused primarily on demonstrating the societal and
political framework in which our food law was built, and lightly delving into the content. Those
wishing to learn more could begin by turning to those sources I have cited in this section. Having

discussed the long and vigorous history of food law, I now turn to the history of prisons, and
prison law.
History of Prison Law
The history of prison law is markedly different from that of food law. Whereas food law dates
back at least to Roman times, prisons as a form of punishment are primarily a modern
invention,[58] with the first major prison system built in Pennsylvania in the late eighteenth
century.[59] I
nde
e
d,t
heor
i
g
i
na
lpur
p
o
s
eofAl
e
xi
sdeToque
vi
l
l
e
’
sf
a
moust
r
i
pt
ot
heUni
t
e
d
States was to advise France on the American prison system.[60] The law of prisons is even more
recent, dating to the mid-twentieth century. Before then, there simply was no oversight. Wardens
were the lords of their domain.
Methods of punishment changed over the centuries, but until recently, not by much. In ancient
Athens, punishment came in primarily three forms: varying methods of violent execution,[61]
financial punishments such as fines or confiscation of property,[62] or varying methods of
shaming the individual.[63] The punishments in ancient Rome were similar, involving fines, or,
again, several imaginative methods of execution.[64] Exile also existed as an alternative to
execution, and later became a punishment in its own right.[65] Forced labor was later added to
the list.[66]
Throughout this time, though there are hints of imprisonment being an option for
punishment,[67] criminals were placed in confinement primarily until they could face their
actual penalty. Thus, people were held until they had paid off their fines (if they could not pay,
they were eventually executed),[68] or until execution.[69] Indeed, the Roman jurist Ulpian
stated the rule that prisons were for custody only, not punishment.[70]
Early European punishments were very similar, with the addition of corporal punishment.
Extravagant methods of execution remained available to judges, as did banishment, fines, and
forced labor.[71] Shaming was also used, including, for example, exposure on the pillory.[72]
Shaming was also often combined with corporal punishment, as people would be whipped,
burned, branded, or (rarely) mutilated in public view.[73] Later on, forced labor became a more
popular (though still minor) sentence for criminals.[74] This labor was often done in galleys, on
public works projects, or, finally, prisons.[75] Still, prisons were used primarily to hold accused
c
r
i
mi
na
l
spr
i
ort
ot
r
i
a
l
,orunt
i
lt
he
yc
oul
dbepuni
s
he
d.Ul
pi
a
n’
sr
ul
ewa
sr
e
s
t
a
t
e
dbyt
heEng
l
i
s
h
jurist Ralegh-Bratton in the thirteenth century as true for British law,[76] and indeed continued
to be cited by the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.[77]
The pattern stayed constant in colonial America. The same types of punishment used through
millennia were used here as well: fines, whippings, shaming, exile, and capital punishment.[78]
Again, local jails held either those awaiting trial or punishment, or those unable to pay their
debts.[79] Indeed, much of what we consider necessary to a jail was absent here. Inmates could
come and go as they pleased, so long as they did not go too far from the vicinity of the jail, and
returned at night to sleep.[80]

At this point it will be useful to take a moment to note the condition of these historic prisons.
They were largely unregulated. That is, there were no rules defining acceptable conditions, or
a
nyove
r
s
i
g
htbyout
s
i
dea
ge
nc
i
e
s
.Rome
’
sTullianum prison was described by a historian from
first century B.C.E. thusly:
The prison is a deep underground dungeon, no larger than a [dining-room that could hold nine
people], dark and noisome...[T]he poor wretches were reduced to the appearance of brutes, and
since their food and everything pertaining to their other needs was so foully commingled, a
stench so terrible assailed anyone who drew near it that it could scarcely be endured.[81]
La
t
e
rpr
i
s
onswe
r
enobe
t
t
e
r
.Onewr
i
t
e
rs
t
a
t
e
st
ha
t“
[
d]
i
s
or
de
ra
ndne
g
lect were the dominant
f
e
a
t
ur
e
soft
hee
i
g
ht
e
e
nt
hc
e
nt
ur
ypr
i
s
on.
”
[82] One colonial prison, established in 1773, was
improvised out of copper mines. It was described thusly:
[It
]wa
s
,bya
l
la
c
c
ount
s
,ahor
r
e
ndousdunge
on,ada
r
kc
a
veof“
hor
r
i
dg
l
oom.
”The“
dr
i
ppi
ng
wa
t
e
rt
r
i
c
kl
i
ngl
i
ket
e
a
r
sf
r
omi
t
ss
i
de
s
;t
heune
a
r
t
hl
ye
c
hoe
s
,a
l
lc
ons
pi
r
e
d”t
os
t
r
i
kea
nobs
e
r
ve
r
“
a
g
ha
s
twi
t
ha
ma
z
e
me
nta
ndhor
r
or
.
”Thepr
i
s
one
r
swe
r
e“
he
a
vi
l
y ironed and secured by
f
e
t
t
e
r
s
”
;t
h
e
ya
t
e“
pi
c
kl
e
dpor
k”f
ordi
nne
r
,whi
l
ewor
ki
nga
tf
or
ge
s
;“
api
e
c
ef
ore
a
c
hwa
s
thrown on the floor and left to be washed and boiled in the water used for cooling the iron
wr
oug
htona
tt
hef
or
ge
s
.
”
[83]
These awful conditions, and the lack of any law preventing them, may seem unsurprising given
the harsh sentences already meted out to convicted criminals, but they are by no means a
necessity. Indeed, one of the few exceptions is fourteenth century French royal prisons. These
prisons were supposed to be regularly inspected, and had several (minimal) rules about basic
obl
i
g
a
t
i
onsoft
hej
a
i
l
e
r
s(
e
.
g
.t
ha
ti
twa
st
hej
a
i
l
e
r
’
sr
e
s
pons
i
bi
l
i
t
yt
opr
ovide some type of food,
at least bread and water, to inmates).[84]
After America gained its independence, several simultaneous factors resulted in a shift to a new
form of puni
s
hme
nt
.Fi
r
s
t
,t
hepopul
a
t
i
one
xpa
nde
d.Pe
nns
y
l
va
ni
a
’
spopul
a
t
i
onqua
dr
upl
e
df
r
om
less than 50,000 residents in 1730 to 430,000 by 1790.[85] As it did, shaming punishments lost
their effectiveness. Shaming punishments work as a method of deterrence because communitymembers do not want to feel the scorn of their friends. But as communities expanded, they were
no longer small enough so that everybody knew each other.[86] Similarly, banishment becomes
much harder to enforce when residents cannot recognize an outsider on site. Older methods were
no longer effective.
At the same time, execution, the backup punishment, began to fail too. Execution seems a very
harsh sentence, especially for such minor crimes as petty theft, and yet was relatively common in
the criminal codes.[87] The result was that juries often decided to nullify rather than send
someone to death.[88] The conclusion many drew from this was that it was the harshness of the
codes that led to crime.[89]
Finally, new Enlightenment thinking was gaining dominance, and its adherents attacked the
harshness of criminal punishment. Montesquieu wrote his Persian Letters and the Spirit of the
Laws in support of greater compassion in French sentencing.[90] Bentham argued that men were

rational beings, who did not need to be deterred by threat of death, but who would respond to a
rational system of punishment.[91] This thinking came to a head in 1793 in the article, An
Enquiry How Far the Punishment of Death is Necessary in Pennsylvania, with Notes and
Illustrations. Written by one William Bradford, it became very popular, and further established
the Enlightenment view of punishment.[92] Muc
hl
i
keAc
c
um’
sbookonf
ooda
dul
t
e
r
a
t
i
onl
e
d
t
hewa
yt
omode
r
nf
oodl
a
w,Br
a
df
or
d’
sa
r
t
i
c
l
e(
a
nda
l
lt
heot
he
r
s
)l
e
dt
hewa
yt
oane
wki
ndof
criminal sentencing.
The first major reform came in 1790, when Pennsylvania substituted forced labor as the
punishment for a variety of crimes, and rebuilt its old Walnut Street jail to accommodate the new
inmates.[93] New York quickly followed.[94] These two prisons experienced some early
successes (Newgate even earned a profit net of expenses), and other states moved to follow their
example.[95] Problems soon arose. Despite increasing population growth, neither state allocated
a
nymone
yt
oi
nc
r
e
a
s
i
ngpr
i
s
onc
a
pa
c
i
t
y
.Thenumbe
rofi
nma
t
e
si
nPe
nns
y
l
va
ni
a
’
spr
i
s
ont
r
i
pl
e
d
from 72 in 1790 to 220 by 1815.[96] The prisons began to face an increasing number of riots.
Wardens began pardoning inmates as a method of keeping population under control.[97] In New
York the practice became so common that prisoners rioted if refused a pardon after serving half
their term.[98] Meanwhile, legislatures continued to press wardens to keep their prison costs
under control.[99] In a theme that would continue to repeat itself, prisons became overcrowded
and underfunded.
Two new attempts at reform, again in New York and Pennsylvania, were established by 1820,
each competing to be the model for the rest of the country. The notion was that much of crime
wa
sar
e
s
ul
tofs
oc
i
e
t
a
li
l
l
s
.“
[
B]
a
dc
ompa
ny
,vi
c
e
-rotten cities, temptations, weaknesses in the
f
a
mi
l
ywe
r
epr
oduc
i
ngwa
ve
sofc
r
i
me
.
”
[100] By removing people from these causes, and
pl
a
c
i
ngt
he
mi
na“
c
or
r
upt
i
on-f
r
e
ee
nvi
r
onme
nt
,
”t
he
yc
oul
dr
e
f
or
mc
r
i
mi
na
l
sa
ndprevent them
from committing future crimes.[101] Both, then, involved the forced labor that was featured in
earlier punishments, but with the addition that rehabilitation was a clear part of their goal. And,
in order to produce the monastic conditions necessary for reform, both decided to ensure inmates
remained isolated from each other.[102] They differed, however, in their approach. The
Pennsylvania prison system kept inmates in solitary cells during their incarceration, where they
would work, eat, and sleep.[103] TheNe
wYor
ks
y
s
t
e
m(
c
a
l
l
e
dt
he“
Aubur
ns
y
s
t
e
m,
”be
c
a
us
e
t
ha
t
’
swhe
r
et
hef
i
r
s
tpr
i
s
onwa
se
s
t
a
bl
i
s
he
d)ha
de
a
c
hi
nma
t
es
l
e
e
pi
nhi
sownc
e
l
l
,butha
dt
he
m
work in a large communal room, during which time no inmates were allowed to talk to (or even
look at) any others. [104] Though this difference might seem minor to some, it resulted in a
vigorous debate.[105] Eventually, most states adopted the Auburn system, primarily because it
was cheaper than the Pennsylvania system.[106] Just as important, with the decision to improve
prisons came new funding from the legislature. The overcrowding problems were (temporarily)
solved.[107]
Buthi
s
t
or
yr
e
pe
a
t
si
t
s
e
l
f
,a
ndbyt
he1860’
spr
i
s
onsha
da
g
a
i
nf
a
llen into decay. After the initial
r
e
f
or
m pus
hi
nt
he1820’
s
,notmuc
he
l
s
eha
ppe
ne
d.Aga
i
n,l
e
g
i
s
l
a
t
ur
e
sne
gl
e
c
t
e
dt
hene
e
df
or
ne
wpr
i
s
on
s
.Ther
e
s
ul
t
s
,a
sonewr
i
t
e
rputt
he
m:“
Pr
i
s
onsi
nt
hepos
t
-Civil War era became
modern, that is, characterized by ove
r
c
r
owdi
ng
,br
ut
a
l
i
t
y
,a
nddi
s
or
de
r
.
”
[108] As prisons were
forced to adopt policies of double-celling inmates, they had to abandon their rules on
isolation.[109] Any notions of reform simply petered out. Corruption became common, as guards

would accept bribes in exchange for placing inmates in better work assignments.[110] County
j
a
i
l
swe
r
ee
ve
nwor
s
e
:“
Theove
r
c
r
owdi
ngwa
ss
e
ve
r
e
,t
hef
i
l
t
ha
wf
ul
,t
heve
nt
i
l
a
t
i
onpr
i
mi
t
i
ve
,
a
ndt
hef
oo
ds
c
a
nt
y
.
”
[111]
Somer
e
f
or
m move
me
nt
sa
r
os
ei
nt
he1870’
s
,e
s
pe
c
i
a
l
l
ya
f
t
e
ras
c
a
t
hi
ngr
e
por
tc
ommi
s
s
i
one
dby
the New York Prison Association was released.[112] Yet for all the proposals reformers made,
few were actually adopted. The movement was largely ineffective, affecting only small
minorities of prisoners.[113] Yet another reform movement arose during the Progressive era. It,
too, had mixed results at best.[114] Some of their suggestions, involving, e.g., classification (to
separate inmates by dangerousness) and education, were adopted piecemeal by different prison
systems, but none across the board.[115]
Throughout this period, there was no court oversight of prisons. Though there were some state
prison boards, as a practical matter they rarely took action.[116] Prison law was not a matter of
what the courts decreed but rather of what wardens decided.[117] Cour
t
sa
dopt
e
da“
ha
ndsof
f
”
policy, deferring to the expertise of prison administrators except in extreme circumstances.[118]
Ye
ti
nt
he1960’
st
hec
our
t
sr
e
ve
r
s
e
dc
our
s
e
,a
ndbe
ga
na
c
c
e
pt
i
ngs
uc
hc
l
a
i
msf
orr
e
vi
e
w,u
nde
r
the theory that practices at prisons violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and
unusual punishment.[119] The first such cases involved prison discipline, because they best fit
t
her
ubr
i
cof“
puni
s
hme
nt
.
”[120] Ye
tbyt
he1970’
sc
our
t
sha
de
xpa
nde
dove
r
s
i
g
htt
oi
nc
l
u
d
e
general practices at a prison, including conditions that seem to have little to do with punishment
at all.[121] Once t
hedoor
swe
r
eope
n
e
d,at
or
r
e
ntofl
i
t
i
g
a
t
i
one
ns
ue
d.“
By1984(
t
hef
i
r
s
ty
e
a
r
for which data are accessible), 24% of the nation's 903 state prisons (including at least one in
each of forty-three states and the District of Columbia) reported to the federal Bureau of Justice
St
a
t
i
s
t
i
c
st
h
a
tt
he
ywe
r
eope
r
a
t
i
ngund
e
rac
our
tor
de
r
.
”
[122] In some of the worst cases, judges
took control of entire prison systems,[123] sometimes for decades.[124]
Exactly what changed to lead to this reversal by the courts is unclear. One thing that is certain is
that the change was not a result of an increase in deterioration of prison conditions. To be sure,
early cases often involved prisons in truly disgusting shape. One such case involved the Rhode
Island prison system. Experts testified t
ha
tMa
xi
mumSe
c
ur
i
t
ywa
s“
t
hef
i
l
t
hi
e
s
tpr
i
s
ont
he
yha
d
e
ve
re
nc
ount
e
r
e
d.
”
[125] Thej
udgei
nt
hec
a
s
ef
oundt
ha
tt
hee
nt
i
r
es
t
r
uc
t
ur
ewa
s“
ma
s
s
i
ve
l
y
infested with cockroaches,r
ode
nt
s
,mi
c
e
,a
ndr
a
t
s
.
”
[126] The kitchen had mice droppings in
open food containers, and dead pigeons lay by a waste disposal area, right outside an open
door.[127]
Ye
t
,a
wf
ula
st
hi
ss
e
e
ms
,i
tl
ooksnowor
s
et
ha
nc
ondi
t
i
onspr
e
s
e
ntde
c
a
de
se
a
r
l
i
e
r
.Ka
t
eO’
Ha
r
e
,
incarcerated for her anti-World War I views, wrote a book about her experiences at the Missouri
penitentiary from 1919-1920.
“
Eve
r
yc
r
a
c
ka
ndc
r
e
vi
c
eoft
hec
e
l
l
ho
u
s
ewa
sf
ul
lofve
r
mi
nofe
ve
r
yknowns
or
t
,whi
c
hno
a
mountofs
c
r
ubbi
ngont
hepa
r
toft
hewome
nc
oul
dpe
r
ma
ne
nt
l
ydi
s
c
ha
r
ge
.
”Ra
t
s“
ove
r
r
a
nt
he
place in swarms, scampered over the dining tables, nibbled [at the food], played in [the] dishes,
crept into bed, chewed up shoes and carried off everything not nailed down or hung far above
t
he
i
rr
e
a
c
h
.
”Thedi
ni
ngr
oom wa
se
qua
l
l
yf
i
l
t
hy
;t
hewa
l
l
swe
r
e“
s
t
r
e
a
ke
dwi
t
hg
r
i
me
,
”a
ndt
he

c
e
i
l
i
ngwa
sc
ove
r
e
dwi
t
hf
i
f
t
e
e
ny
e
a
r
s
’a
c
c
umul
a
t
i
onofde
a
df
l
i
e
s
.Thei
nma
t
e
swe
r
es
e
g
r
e
g
a
t
e
d
and seated at long wooden tables infested with cockroaches.[128]
Surely this is no worse than conditions in Rhode Island fifty years later. Something else must
have been responsible for the change.
One academic argues that the intervention by the courts was primarily a result of the larger
expansion of civil rights and civil liberties going on at the time.[129] Another states that the
courts could not get involved until other questions were resolved, including, e.g. which
amendments in the Bill of Rights would even apply to the states.[130] Perhaps the courts only
stepped in when it became apparent that the legislatures were simply unwilling to respond to the
problems themselves. Whatever the reasons, court oversight has resulted, at the least, in
elimination of the worst practices of prisons.[131]
Over the course of the past three decades, the precise standard judges would apply to prison
conditions, and the amount of deference they would grant to prison administrators, has
fluctuated.[132] In 1996, however, a new law was passed by Congress that substantially cut back
court oversight (and in the process, established the requisite standards). Termed the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA),[133] t
hel
a
wwa
spa
s
s
e
di
nr
e
s
pons
et
oCong
r
e
s
s
’pe
r
c
e
pt
i
ons
both that inmates were filing frivolous lawsuits regarding their incarceration in huge numbers,
and that activist judges were overstepping their authority in ordering relief.[134]
The PLRA has essentially three types of rules. First, it limits the kinds of remedies available in
prison litigation. Injunctions or consent decrees[135] c
a
nonl
ybegr
a
nt
e
di
ft
he
ya
r
e“
na
r
r
owl
y
drawn, extend no further than necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right, and are the
least intrusive means necessary to correct the violation of the Federa
lr
i
g
ht
.
”
[136] This rule
applies retroactively as well, allowing prisons to move for the termination of any court orders
where the judge did not specifically make these findings.[137] Second, it limits the ability of
indigent inmates to file suit, by requiring them to pay some filing fee even if they file in forma
pauperis,[138] a
ndl
i
mi
t
i
ngt
hea
t
t
or
n
e
y
’
sf
e
e
si
nma
t
e
sc
a
nc
l
a
i
mi
ft
he
i
rs
ui
ts
uc
c
e
e
ds
.
[139]
Third, it adds limits on the types of cases that may be brought, by adding a requirement of
“
phy
s
i
c
a
li
nj
ur
y
”be
f
or
ea
nys
ui
tma
ybebr
oug
ht
,
[140] and by requiring that inmates first
exhaust all administrative remedies before bringing suit.[141] There is no doubt that the PLRA
has succeeded in reducing the number of inmate lawsuits. The year after the PLRA went into
effect, inmate suits dropped 40%.[142] The contention that the suits that have been eliminated
are all frivolous, however, is sharply disputed.[143]
Fi
na
l
l
y
,t
he
r
ea
r
et
wor
e
c
e
ntt
r
e
ndswor
t
hme
nt
i
oni
ng
.Fi
r
s
ti
st
hei
nc
r
e
a
s
ei
nus
eof“
Supe
r
ma
x”
prisons, where inmates are kept to their cells 23 hours of every day.[144] Though sold to voters
a
sapl
a
c
et
ohous
et
he“
wor
s
toft
hewor
s
t
,
”t
he
ya
r
emor
ec
ommonl
yus
e
dt
ohous
et
hos
e(
of
t
e
n
mentally ill) inmates who are the most disruptive in other institutions.[145] Such prisons are very
expensive to maintain, costing nearly double in operating expenses to regular prisons.[146]
Second is the growing use of private prisons. Their efficacy is a matter of fierce debate, with
some arguing that such institutions will care more about profit than the health and safety of
inmates,[147] and others claiming that it is exactly that profit motive that will ensure they act
both appropriately and economically in order to get their contracts renewed.[148]

This concludes the history of prisons and prison law. As with the history of food law, I would
stress that this discussion is by no means comprehensive. Entire books have been written on the
subject of prison history.[149] Rather, this history attempts to give an outline of the progress (or
lack thereof) in prison management and oversight, to allow for comparisons to the food regime.
Prison Food Law Today
At this point it will be useful to discuss exactly where prison food law stands in the context of
these two frameworks. The current law of prison food is primarily a product of prison law, rather
than of food law. That is, while there is some self-regulation, oversight occurs primarily through
inmate litigation alleging violations of Constitutional provisions, such as the Eighth Amendment
ban on cruel and unusual punishment, or often First Amendment freedom of religion claims
demanding prisons supply inmates with food following their specific religious
requirements.[150]
Under current standards, this means that sanitation or nutrition conditions cannot be held
unlawful under the Eighth Amendment unless two tests are met. First, the conditions must be
obj
e
c
t
i
ve
l
yc
r
ue
la
ndunus
ua
l
,de
f
i
ne
da
svi
ol
a
t
i
ng“
c
ont
e
mpor
a
r
ys
t
a
nda
r
dsofde
c
e
nc
y
.
”
[151]
Second, a subjective test is applied, looking to the minds of the prison administrators. Since only
cruel and unusual punishment is unconstitutional, the Court reasoned that only those conditions
that are known by those responsible would be unlawful.[152] The precise standard is that
i
nma
t
e
smus
tpr
ovepr
i
s
onof
f
i
c
i
a
l
swe
r
e“
de
l
i
be
r
a
t
e
l
yi
ndi
f
f
e
r
e
nt
”t
ot
hes
pe
c
i
f
i
cpr
obl
e
msi
nt
he
case.[153] Both tests must be met before any conditions will be found to violate the Eighth
Amendment.[154]
Nevertheless, there are some ways prison food law partakes of the greater power of food law
generally. First, adequate food is one of the few minimum essentials currently held to be required
by the Eighth Amendment. Practices will not be held to violate contemporary standards unless
they deprive a
ni
nma
t
eof“
as
i
ng
l
e
,i
d
e
nt
i
f
i
a
bl
ehuma
nne
e
ds
uc
ha
sf
ood,wa
r
mt
h,or
e
xe
r
c
i
s
e
.
”
[155] I
na
not
he
rc
a
s
e
,t
heCo
ur
tde
f
i
ne
dt
he
s
eba
s
i
chuma
nne
e
dsa
si
nc
l
udi
ng“
e
.
g
.
,
food, c
l
ot
hi
ng
,s
he
l
t
e
r
,me
di
c
a
lc
a
r
e
,a
n
dr
e
a
s
ona
bl
es
a
f
e
t
y
.
”
[156] Thus, within the Eighth
Amendment realm, food receives more protection than many other inmate provisions. Though,
e
ve
nhe
r
e
,s
a
ni
t
a
t
i
oni
s
s
ue
smus
tbes
e
ve
r
ebe
f
or
eaj
udgewi
l
li
nt
e
r
ve
ne
,a
nd“
oc
c
a
s
i
ona
ll
a
ps
e
s
donotc
ons
t
i
t
ut
ec
r
ue
la
ndunus
ua
lpuni
s
hme
nt
.
”
[157]
Second, prisons are occasionally regulated by general food laws that apply to any places where
food is served. Thus, for example, Rhode Island has a general law applying to all places where
food is processed or stored that requires that a manager be certified in food safety.[158] This rule
applies to the local prison system as well.[159] Similarly, when the prison had a food illness
outbreak two years ago, state inspectors came in to investigate as they would anywhere such an
illness spread.[160] Note, however, that general inspections that usually occur at, e.g.,
restaurants, do not occur in the prison.[161] Such inspections, at least in Rhode Island, are
c
onduc
t
e
d“
i
nhous
e
.
”
[162] This point is a relatively minor one, as can be seen by a perusal of
any of the various treatises on inmate rights, which refer primarily to caselaw and secondarily to
model prison standards published by various non-profits and prison associations.[163]

Finally, there is a wealth of nutrition and sanitation information publicly available. The FDA
alone publishes numerous guidelines on appropriate food handling practices.[164] By giving
prisons access to the appropriate standards, it allows them to self regulate more effectively.[165]
Also, such standards presumably make it easier, in case of litigation, for judges to determine if
prisons have acted in an unsafe manner.
There are several areas of primary importance in prison food law.[166] Mentioning them here
will facilitate later discussion. First are sanitation issues. These include anything from simple
cleanliness problems and rodent infestations,[167] to problems endemic to prisons (e.g.,
outbreaks of infectious disease, given close proximity of such a large group, and food poisoning
as food gets cold while being served to a large number of inmates).[168] Note that these cases
are often linked to other issues, most notably overcrowding. As more people are placed into a
prison, sanitation becomes more of a problem.[169]
Another issue is the use of food, or the withdrawal of food, as a form of punishment. Thus, in
some cases a prison might withhold food from inmates that do not conform to the rules.[170] In
ot
he
rc
a
s
e
s
,
di
s
r
upt
i
vei
nma
t
e
sa
r
es
e
r
ve
dwha
ti
sc
a
l
l
e
d“
nut
r
a
-l
oa
f
,
”or“
f
oodl
oa
f
,
”as
ubs
t
a
nc
e
made essentially by taking normal meals and grinding/mashing them into an unappetizing
loaf.[171] Lastly, there is the issue of special diets. Often inmates have special dietary needs,
either for health (e.g. diabetics)[172] or religious reasons (e.g. Jews requiring Kosher
foods).[173]
This brief overview of prison food law is enough to begin to draw out the differences it has from
food law generally. Of course there is always more. Indeed, in this particular case, much more,
some of which will be discussed below. We may now move onward (finally!) to the meat of the
paper.
The Political Nature of the Two Systems
The first thing to notice about the two legal frameworks of prison and food law is the
extraordinarily different realities in which they operate. Food law over the course of the past two
centuries has seemed to follow a simple lockstep pattern: The public is made aware of problems
in the food and drug supply, either through the publication of information on the subject or
through the existence of a public tragedy, and the legislature responds with some new laws to
repair the problems exposed.
ThusAc
c
um’
sbookonf
ooda
dul
t
e
r
a
t
i
onc
a
pt
ur
e
spubl
i
ca
t
t
e
nt
i
ona
ndr
e
s
ul
t
si
nt
hef
i
r
s
tmode
r
n
food regulation regimes. An outbreak of yellow fever results in the establishment of local boards
of health. Upton Sinclair publishes his manifesto and an outraged populace spurs Congress to
pass both the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drugs Act. Further expansion of the
law is delayed until the Elixir Sulfanilamide disaster speeds passage of a new Food and Drugs
Act in 1937.
More recent changes in the law follow this same pattern. The Kefauver-Harris Amendments
were passed after the thalidomide disaster. This case is most notable because the problems did
not even occur inside the United States, yet changes to the law were still made. Lobbying by

consumers and producers of saccharin resulted in additional legislation to ensure its availability.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was also passed as a direct result of intensive
lobbying by consumers.
This unbroken trend demonstrates a populace that is both highly aware of its food and food law,
and capable of pressing its interests in the legislatures. Each major expansion and contraction of
the law was a result of consumer intervention. The end result is not only a robust legal
framework, but one which changes over time to better fit the interests of the public. This same
robust framework of law may be found locally. Every state has its own food and drug act.[174]
Each of these, too, exhibits the same kind of powerful and dynamic regulation as at the federal
level.[175]
The history of prisons, however, shows a far different pattern. For millennia, the basic rules of
punishment went unquestioned. To the extent confinement was used it was completely
unregulated. Yet by the late eighteenth century, some of the same factors at work in food law
seemed to come to the fore. Writings of the time, this time by Bentham, Montesquieu, and
Br
a
df
or
d,c
a
pt
ur
e
dt
hepubl
i
c
’
si
ma
g
i
na
t
i
on,a
ndr
e
s
ul
t
e
di
nwi
de
-ranging reform. Much like the
publication of The Jungle,orAc
c
um’
sbookonf
ooda
dul
t
e
ration, they resulted in concrete
legislative changes.
Unfortunately, the comparison seems to end there. Rather than continuing to follow a pattern of
constant improvement and growth of the law, it instead followed a consistent downward slope.
First it moved into a rut where occasionally there was talk of reform, but no real changes ever
ma
ni
f
e
s
t
e
d
.I
nde
e
d,ones
t
ude
ntwr
i
t
e
rha
sc
ompa
r
e
dpr
i
s
onl
a
wt
oNe
wYe
a
r
’
sr
e
s
ol
ut
i
ons
.“
Ye
t
soon the luster of the resolutions dims, the determination of the resolver wanes, and a return to
mor
ec
onv
e
ni
e
ntwa
y
ss
e
e
msi
ne
vi
t
a
bl
e
.
”
[176]
Thust
hef
i
r
s
tpr
i
s
onr
e
f
or
m move
me
nta
r
os
ei
nt
he1820’
s
,buta
f
t
e
ri
ni
t
i
a
la
c
t
i
vi
t
yt
hemov
e
me
nt
faltered. Byt
he1860’
spr
i
s
onsha
da
l
r
e
a
dyr
e
l
a
ps
e
di
nt
opoorc
ondi
t
i
ons
.I
nt
he1870’
sar
e
por
t
commissioned by the New York Prison Association again resulted in a new push for reform. But
here even the first push was ineffective, with legislatures adopting few reforms.
Anda
g
a
i
n,
i
nt
he1920’
s
,Pr
og
r
e
s
s
i
ve
spus
he
df
orc
ha
ng
e
si
npr
i
s
ons
.The
y
,t
oo,f
a
i
l
e
dt
oe
na
c
t
much meaningful reform. This particular movement is most interesting for the contrast that it
shows with food law. The Jungle was published in 1906 and resulted in a furor of change. Three
decades later the Elixir Sulfanilamide disaster too caused a wealth of growth in food law. Yet
dur
i
ngt
hemi
ddl
eoft
hi
spe
r
i
od,Ka
t
hl
e
e
nO’
Ha
r
ewr
ot
ehe
ra
c
c
ountofhe
re
xpe
r
i
e
nc
e
si
n
prison[177] with little result. Since that time, there has been no shortage of accounts of prisons in
popular culture, nearly all negative.[178] Yet none have angered the public, or led to any
lobbying.
After that, the next major reform came not from politics, but from the court. This one, however,
was somewhat successful, improving some of the worst prison practices and beginning to apply
minimum standards of care. Yet what happened at this point is very interesting: The next major
push in the legislatures was not to improve prison conditions, but actually to cut back oversight.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act was passed where a multitude of earlier reform attempts had

failed. This was not merely a minor procedural change: It substantially cut back on inmate
litigation and resulted in the termination of many court orders. Whereas food law has seen a
continuing increase in complexity and strength, prison law (and prison food law along with it)
ha
sg
onef
r
omi
nt
e
ns
ei
nt
e
r
e
s
t
,i
nAme
r
i
c
a
’
se
a
r
l
yhi
s
t
or
y
,t
oa
pa
t
hy
,a
ndf
i
na
l
l
yt
oa
na
c
t
ua
l
backlash against any kind of oversight at all.
The primary question this section seeks to address is: Why? Why, given a relatively equal
amount of information, a relatively equal amount of tragedy, has food law flourished while
prison law has lain stagnant? What is responsible for the continual decrease in interest in prison
law, when interest in foods
e
e
msa
ss
t
r
onga
se
ve
r
?Unf
or
t
una
t
e
l
y
,Idon’
tha
veac
l
e
a
ra
ns
we
r
.
I
nde
e
d,Idon’
tbe
l
i
e
vet
ha
ta
nyonea
n
s
we
rcould adequately explain this difference in public
concern. At the least, however, there are some promising areas of inquiry to begin answering this
question. Each, to some extent, helps explain the reality in which prison food law must work.
Perhaps the most obvious answer to this question lies in the nature of prisons. That is, they are a
form of punishment. As such, they are meant to be unpleasant, and enacting law to limit this
unpleasantness goes directly against their very purpose. Poll data seem to support this reasoning.
Somewhat more than 80% of individuals think courts are too lenient on criminals.[179] Less
than 5% feel they are too harsh.[180] Some of the reasoning in cases limiting court oversight
also seems to assert this jus
t
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
on.
Fore
xa
mpl
e
,i
nonec
a
s
eJ
us
t
i
c
eRe
hnqui
s
ts
t
a
t
e
d,“
t
h
e
Constitution does not mandate comfortable prisons, and prisons of SOCF's type [maximum
security], which house persons convicted of serious crimes, cannot be free of discomfort. Thus,
these considerations properly are weighed by the legislature and prison administration rather than
ac
our
t
.
”
[181]
To some extent, this sentiment is certainly correct. Standard legal jurisprudence states that prison
sentences are meant to serve the four functions of punishment, deterrence, rehabilitation, and
incapacitation.[182] For them to serve the first two of these functions there must certainly be
some amount of unpleasantness or hardship in going to prison. Punishment does not punish if it
does not cause some distress. No one shall be deterred from committing a crime if the
consequences of getting caught and prosecuted are not unwanted. Indeed, far more than a
minimal amount of discomfort is required for a working justice system.[183]
This answer has another advantage as well: Not only does it explain why interest in prison
reform is low, it explains the decrease in interest over the centuries. When prisons were first
instituted, they were intended to be a more human alternative to the existing regime, and public
awarene
s
sa
ndc
onc
e
r
nwe
r
er
e
ma
r
ka
bl
yhi
g
h.Thef
oc
usi
nt
he1820’
swa
sonr
e
ha
bi
l
i
t
a
t
i
on.I
t
was only over time that the legislatures stopped listening (or that the public stopped speaking).
At the same time, rehabilitative ideals have fallen out of fashion. While the United States was the
first major power to abolish the death penalty for most crimes, [184] it is among the last to refuse
to eliminate it completely. The goals of imprisonment today focus more on the other three
purposes of imprisonment.[185] This fits into line with the theory: lack of oversight is an
intentional method of ensuring prison fulfills its current goals of punishment and deterrence.
Earlier periods had more of a push for reform because prisons had a different goal.

But this answer does not go far enough, for surely there must be some stopping point to the
notion of punishment. Taking this reasoning to its logical extreme results in condoning, among
other things, torture and dismemberment, which our society has explicitly decided are beyond
the pale of civilized punishment.[186] Clearly not every occurrence at a prison is part of its basic
purpose of punishment. Murder by another inmate, for example, does not seem to be the
punishment legislatures intended to enact.
So a line must be drawn between acceptable methods of punishment, and unacceptable ones.
Deciding where exactly to place that line between torture and inaction is difficult. Unfortunately,
it is a decision that the public as a whole, and the legislatures it has elected, have both completely
abdicated.
If that line were to be drawn, basic issues of sanitation and nutrition would surely fall on the side
of protection. After all, the goal of food law in every other field is not to prevent punishment, but
to ensure the basic health of our citizens.[187] Similarly, regulating the cleanliness of prison
ki
t
c
he
nswoul
dn’
ts
e
e
mt
oa
f
f
e
c
tt
he“
puni
s
hme
ntl
e
ve
l
”oft
hepr
i
s
on,butme
r
e
l
ye
ns
ur
et
h
a
t
i
nma
t
e
sdon’
tge
tf
oodpoisoning.
Ens
ur
i
ngt
h
a
tme
a
l
sa
r
enut
r
i
t
i
ousa
l
s
odoe
snots
e
e
mt
obe“
g
oi
nge
a
s
y
”onpr
i
s
one
r
s
.I
nde
e
d,
the healthiest foods could often be considered the least appetizing. After all, spinach and broccoli
are not known for their flavor. Serving a salad with meals hardly seems to be pampering.
Punishment is simply not the point here. Rather, the issues are more about preventing vitamin
deficiency or large weight gain.[188] When we consider the basic punishment prisons are meant
to inflict, obesity does not seem to be on the list.
This is especially true when we begin to look at some of the special diets inmates need. In one
case inmates were not given the diets they were medica
l
l
yr
e
qui
r
e
dt
oha
ve
.“
Oft
het
hr
e
e
,onei
s
now blind due to his inability to control his diabetes; one spent an extended period of time in the
hospital due to a relapse of Crohn's Disease; and the third suffered a diabetic seizure due to his
drinking of as
a
c
c
ha
r
i
ns
we
e
t
e
ne
dj
ui
c
e
.
”
[189] Surely blindness is not the punishment envisioned
whe
ns
e
nd
i
ngac
r
i
mi
na
lt
opr
i
s
on.Ye
tpr
i
ort
ot
hec
our
t
’
si
nvol
ve
me
nt
,t
he
r
ewa
snos
t
a
t
ute, no
regulation, mandating that inmates receive such meals. Indeed, there was not even a full time
doctor working at the facility.[190]
So the notion that the lack of regulation is intended, because society wants to ensure punishment,
does not explain why there is no regulation of prison food, or any of those areas of incarceration
t
ha
ta
r
enotr
e
a
l
l
y“
puni
s
hme
nt
.
”Some
t
hi
nge
l
s
emus
tbea
twor
khe
r
e
.Abe
t
t
e
re
xpl
a
na
t
i
o
n
might be simple interest group politics. When legislatures are deciding how to best spend their
time, investing in issues that affect a larger proportion of the community might make very good
sense. After all, in the United States there are approximately 2 million Americans incarcerated at
any one given time.[191] While this may seem a large number, it is less than one percent of the
293 million currently living in the U.S.[192]
This theory makes even more sense when two other factors are taken into consideration. First, in
most states inmates cannot vote. A full 48 out of 50 states (the exceptions are Maine and
Vermont) do not allow prisoners to vote.[193] 35 of those extend the prohibition to those on

parole.[194] I
n14s
t
a
t
e
s
,t
heba
ns
ur
vi
ve
st
hec
ompl
e
t
i
onofa
ni
nma
t
e
’
ss
e
nt
e
nc
ei
na
tl
e
a
s
t
some circumstances, and often requires them to affirmatively apply for a restoration of voting
rights.[195] Working under the assumption that legislators are representatives of their
constituents, the numbers lead to an obvious conclusion: The gaping absence of inmates, those
most interested in the law of prisons, and those most likely to support improvements (rather than
increasing harshness), results in a lack of political will for reform.
Of course, this is not the whole story. Those who care about inmates (e.g. relatives of convicts)
would also be interested in improved prison conditions. The second point to consider is that they,
too, do not vote. It is a simple fact that those who commit crimes are among the poorest.[196]
Assuming that their friends and family come from the same background, they, too, are poor.
Unfortunately, it is the poorest classes that are least likely to vote. In 2002, twenty-five percent
of eligible voters with a family income of less than $10,000 per year voted.[197] When looking
to those with a family income over $75,000, however, one finds that fifty-nine percent voted,
over double the rate of the poorest.[198] Not only do inmates not have a voice in government,
but the constituency most likely to care about their welfare is the least likely to vote. The
combination leads to the conclusion that measures intended to improve prison conditions do not
have a strong base of support.
Compare this to food law. Food is one of the few issues by which everyone is affected. (Or at
least, everyone who eats.) Upper class, lower class, and (most important) middle class, none
want to eat unsafe food. Any bill passed by a legislature can be expected to have broad popular
support. The difference can be seen, again, by turning to the events surrounding the publication
of The Jungle. While Sinclair intended to stir protest against the entire capitalist system, he
i
ns
t
e
a
dma
na
g
e
donl
yt
of
oc
usAme
r
i
c
a
’
sa
t
t
e
nt
i
ononf
oodl
a
w.Thedi
f
f
e
r
e
nc
ei
sve
r
y
i
mpor
t
a
nt
:Oneha
dabr
oa
dba
s
eofs
uppor
t
,whi
l
et
heot
he
rdi
dnot
.Asonea
ut
horwr
ot
e
,“
Buti
t
was not an accident. Middle-class people learned from the scandal what they wanted to learn;
they took what had meaning for their lives. And that meaning was in the food they ate, not in the
miserable lives of the workmen whose body and blood had contaminated their middle-class
f
ood.
”
[199]
Butt
hi
ski
ndofbr
oa
ds
uppor
tdoe
s
n’
ts
e
e
mpos
s
i
bl
ewhe
ni
tc
ome
st
opr
i
s
ons
.Whi
l
es
ome
,
especially in the lower classes, might care about the interests of inmates, many others would not.
To the middle class, the most important issues are likely to be deterrence and punishment, on the
one hand, and costs, on the other. Both of these push in the direction of less law requiring basic
minimums in prisons. Deterrence because the lack of such basics is certainly unpleasant, and
costs because both the basics supplied, and the bureaucracy that would presumably be required
to ensure their distribution, would come with a price tag. Indeed, one of the few times the public
has agreed to an increase in prison spending, it has been to build supermax prisons, meant to be a
s
e
ve
r
epuni
s
hme
ntt
ohous
et
he“
wor
s
toft
hewor
s
t
”c
r
i
mi
na
l
s
.
This interest in efficiency can be seen to have played a part in several cases in prison history.
Once America established its first prisons, it did not build any more until the buildup of prisoners
l
e
dt
oac
r
i
s
i
si
nt
he1820’
s
.The
n,wh
e
nt
hec
ount
r
yha
dt
oc
hoos
ebe
t
we
e
nt
wopr
i
s
onmode
l
s
for reform, the Auburn system or the Pennsylvania system, they chose the cheaper one. Since

then, underfunding has been a chronic problem with prisons. Indeed, one attorney has noted that,
“
Ne
a
r
l
ye
ve
r
ypr
i
s
ons
y
s
t
e
mi
nt
heUni
t
e
dSt
a
t
e
si
sove
r
c
r
owde
da
ndunde
r
f
unde
d.
”
[200]
When combined with the issues of punishment, money spent on virtually any other public
agency would likely have better support. One newspaper article written in 2003 discussed the
(then) recent trend of legislatures pressuring prisons to cut back on prison food.[201] It noted
t
ha
t
,“
Forma
nys
t
a
t
el
a
wma
ke
r
s
,c
ompl
a
i
nt
sa
boutpr
i
s
onf
ooddonote
l
i
c
i
tmuc
hs
y
mpa
t
hy
when they are considering cuts that could leave people without health insurance or mean fewer
pol
i
c
ea
ndf
i
r
e
f
i
g
ht
e
r
s
.
”
[202] Marty Seifert, a Minnesota State Representative, perfectly captured
t
hi
ss
e
nt
i
me
nt
.“
We have to make sure the rapists and murderers sacrifice like everyone
e
l
s
e
.
”
[203]
But while this explanation serves very well to help understand why prison reform has little
support today, it does little to explain the bursts of interest in earlier years. Presumably, the
prisoners of the past were every bit as poor as they are today. Indeed, older laws often punished
the poor simply for being poor through loitering and vagrancy laws.[204] And the number of
i
nma
t
e
si
nourna
t
i
on’
spr
i
s
onsha
sonl
yr
i
s
e
nove
rt
i
me
.
[205] Both of these lead to the
conclusion that, while interest in prison reform should have always been low, it nevertheless
should have risen over time. And yet the opposite is true.
So what changed? Why was there so much early concern in prison regulation, and so little today?
Perhaps part of the answer is the change in focus from rehabilitation to punishment, but that just
begs the question. It is clear that prisoners are hated today,[206] and there is some evidence that
t
hepopul
a
c
ewa
smor
ewi
l
l
i
ngt
og
i
vei
nma
t
e
st
hebe
ne
f
i
toft
hedoubte
a
r
l
i
e
ri
nourna
t
i
on’
s
history.[207] Butt
hi
sdo
e
s
n’
tt
e
l
lus anything. Even assuming that theory is correct, what caused
the focus of prisons to change?
A final theory explains these changes in terms of race. As those being convicted were the poor,
eventually there was a shift to a greater number of immigrants (and later, African Americans)
being imprisoned. In 1850, 32% of New York inmates were immigrants (primarily Irish).[208]
By the Civil War that number went up to 44%, with native New Yorkers composing only 41% of
convicts.[209] Some writers have theorized that it is this change that has resulted in less interest
in prison conditions,[210] and indeed this increase does coincide with the failure of reform by
t
he1860’
s
,a
ndofot
he
rr
e
f
or
m move
me
nt
soft
he1870’
s
.
If anything, the disparities have only increased. Today, the racial differences in incarceration
r
a
t
e
sa
r
es
t
a
gg
e
r
i
ng
.Ane
s
t
i
ma
t
e
d43% ofAme
r
i
c
a
’
st
womi
l
l
i
oni
nma
t
e
sa
r
eAf
r
i
c
a
n
American.[211] Another 19% are Hispanic.[212] Yet African Americans comprise only 12% of
the population.[213] Hispanics are only 12.5% of the population.[214] To put these numbers in
perspective, 12.6% of all African American males between the ages of 25 and 29 (more than one
in eight) are incarcerated.[215] The same is true of only 1.7% of whites.[216] African American
males have a 32% chance of going to prison at some point in their lives.[217]
Indeed, the situation is so polarized that some observers have written that simple racism is at
least partly responsible for the current state ofAme
r
i
c
a
’
spr
i
s
ons
.Ra
nda
l
lKe
nne
dywr
i
t
e
s
,
“
One
major impediment [to the enforcement of decent law and order] is the conviction of many people

that the law enforcement system is overwhelmingly racist. Although the precise dimensions of
this attitude are unclear, within African-Ame
r
i
c
a
nc
ommuni
t
i
e
si
ti
sc
e
r
t
a
i
nl
ya
ppr
e
c
i
a
bl
e
.
”
[218]
Indeed, at least one law professor has concluded that the best course of action for the black
community is to simply use their right to jury nullification. They should simply refuse to convict
black defendants of nonviolent crimes.[219]
So is this theory correct? Is it racism that has resulted in an unwillingness to improve prison
conditions? Do people believe (at least subconsciously) that they are entitled to a strong food law
when blacks (or at least black criminals) are not? The data, unfortunately, is mixed. There is an
established psychological phenomenon, known as the similarity-attraction effect, that explicitly
backs up this conclusion.[220] It shows that, as a person feels more similar to another, their
liking for that person also increases.[221] This effect is present even for relatively trivial
similarities, such as sharing a first name,[222] or a liking for a particular artist.[223] On its face,
then, the theory seems relatively powerful. The popular understanding of white Americans that
t
he
ya
r
e“
d
i
f
f
e
r
e
nt
”f
r
om t
hema
j
or
i
t
yo
fi
nma
t
e
s
,be
c
a
us
et
he
ya
r
eofadi
f
f
e
r
e
ntr
a
c
e
,ma
yve
r
y
well mean that they are less willing to support improvements in prison conditions.
Unfortunately, the analysis doe
s
n’
te
ndt
he
r
e
.Ac
or
ol
l
a
r
yt
ot
hesimilarity-attraction effect is the
black-sheep effect.[224] Surprisingly, whereas members of a group are more likely to like other
members of the group, the exception is in the case of stigmatized group members. When a group
me
mbe
rha
sa“
ne
ga
t
i
vef
e
a
t
ur
e
,
”ot
he
rme
mbe
r
soft
hegr
oupdi
s
l
i
ket
ha
tpe
r
s
one
ve
nmor
et
ha
n
an outsider with the same feature.[225] So, for example, one study showed that people were
inclined to reject someone who was a former mental patient more strongly when that person was
more similar to them in other respects.[226]
It seems highly likely that imprisonment, something which only happens to convicted criminals,
would be such a negative feature. As mentioned earlier, prisoners are, as a whole, hated by the
public.[227] Indeed, the one study I could find addressing this issue did find incarceration to be
stigmatizing in this way (though in that case the group divisions were by party affiliation, not by
race).[228] As of right now, the data is not really there to say with certainty whether race plays a
dominant part of the reform mix.
Fi
na
l
l
y
,I
’
dl
i
keto make a small point in reference to food law. Throughout this section, I have
focused on the lack of prison law, and prison food law in particular, as an anomaly, while
treating the prevailing food law regime as the standard. With regards to prison law, I believe that
t
obeundoubt
e
dl
yt
r
ue
.Gi
ve
nt
hepr
o
b
l
e
msf
a
c
e
di
nAme
r
i
c
a
’
spr
i
s
ons
,a
ndc
ompa
r
e
dt
o
virtually any other subject of public interest, the absence of congressional action is exclusive to
this field.
Yet the opposite could easily be said of food. People seem uniquely interested in the subject, in a
way that is not true in other areas. The recent (now discredited) story of a woman finding a
f
i
ng
e
ri
nhe
rbowlofWe
ndy
’
sc
hi
l
i
[229] has resulted in a media frenzy. A simple westlaw
search of the allnews database reveals 810 articles written on the topic.[230] We
ndy
’
sl
os
ta
n
estimated 2% in sales as a result of the incident.[231] Similar excitement brewed around a 1993
claim (also a hoax) of finding a syringe in a can of Pepsi that spawned a host of copycats.[232]

This same interest can be found to have affected the law of food. As mentioned above, the
Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed after an amazing groundswell of
consumer interest. So many people lobbied on the issue that some congressmen bought new
answering systems especially to handle the load.[233] Specific laws have been passed on such
seemingly limited issues as filled milk,[234] margarine,[235] and saccharine.[236] Whereas
prisons are notable for the lack of governing statutory law, food law is notable for the opposite: a
stunning array of statutes controlling even somewhat obscure issues.
So where does that leave us? I have spent a lot of time touching upon a wide range of topics,
involving politics, race, punishment theory, and psychology. It was necessary, however, in order
to demonstrate the very different worlds in which food law and prison law operate. Food law
enjoys broad public support across race and class. There really are few downsides for legislatures
in enacting such laws. (And when they do overstep their bounds, the public quickly makes its
voice heard and they reverse course.)
But if food law is the first-born child on the honor roll, beloved by all and supremely confident,
prison law is the poor step-child, without love and without much hope. Any enactment of prison
reform is hampered by a host of problems: Those most inve
s
t
e
di
nc
ha
ngee
i
t
he
rc
a
n’
tordon’
t
vote. Those who do vote seem more invested in a view of punishment and deterrence that leaves
little room for improving prison conditions. This is true even when, as in prison food, the
i
mpr
ove
me
nt
sdon’
tr
e
a
l
l
ys
e
e
mto affect punishment. Whether they hold this view out of a
strong belief in deterrence or else simple racism, or whether they are merely ignorant of what can
and does go wrong in prisons is not completely clear. Undoubtedly that depends on the
individual, and these factors may hold to varying extents. What is clear, however, is that for
legislatures there is very little benefit (and a large downside) to attempting to enact such reforms.
Ther
e
s
ul
t
,
s
i
mpl
y
,i
st
ha
tt
he
ydon’
tha
ppe
n.
This concludes the section discussing the political realities of prison food law. The next section
begins to tackle the practical consequences of the current state of affairs by looking to the most
important aspect of any set of laws: enforcement.
Enforcement
In the food law realm, the FDA and other state agencies have a multitude of options when
confronted with a non-complying food establishment. From statutorily granted measures such as
fines[237] or seizures,[238] t
oa
g
e
nc
yc
r
e
a
t
e
de
nf
or
c
e
me
ntme
t
hodss
uc
ha
st
he“
wa
r
ni
ngl
e
t
t
e
r
”
and use of publicity,[239] they have the ability to respond to issues forcefully or with a light
touch, as required.
Yet there is no analogue in prisons. Since the legislatures have been unwilling to legislate
minimum standards, those standards come instead either from within, through self regulation, or
through the courts, which outline the limits on prisoner treatment mandated by various
constitutional amendments. The result is a two sizes fit all approach. In the first case, there is no
real enforcement, just goodwill. In the second, enforcement is both haphazard and often
unwieldy.

It is the purpose of this section to do two things. First, I will look at some of the reasons other
enforcement methods, standard for the FDA or state agencies, are either inappropriate or
unavailable to prison food. Second, I will discuss how the current prison law enforcement
mechanisms are inappropriate both generally, and specifically with respect to prison food.
The FDA has a large array of enforcement methods, both official and unofficial. One journal
g
oe
st
hr
oug
ht
he
mi
nas
i
mpl
el
a
undr
yl
i
s
t
:“
i
ns
pe
c
t
i
ona
lobs
e
r
va
t
i
on,wa
r
ni
ngl
e
t
t
e
r
,me
e
t
i
ng
with company management, recall, referral to state or other agencies, publicity, import detention
and refusal, seizure, injunction, civil money penalty, prosecution, license suspension, license
revocation, emergency suspension, withdrawal of product approvals...notification of health
pr
of
e
s
s
i
ona
l
s
,us
e
r
s
.
.
.
”
[240] In addition, it goes on to mention standards and regulation setting,
and consumer education.[241]
Tha
t
’
squi
t
eal
i
s
t
.Le
t
’
sunpa
c
kt
ha
t
.The
s
ee
nf
or
c
e
me
ntme
t
hodsc
a
nbedi
vided into several
categories. In the first are those that involve removing harmful products from the marketplace.
The second group is composed of punishment of private actors. Third are those that involve
educating consumers about risks. Fourth are those that involve monitoring to ensure compliance
with the rules. Finally, the agency can simply mandate new rules in line with its mission as it
sees fit. Each of these groups will be discussed in turn.
The first category clearly could not apply in the prison setting. Seizing harmful food is only
possible when there is something to seize. Import detention, for example, obviously only implies
to imports of food. Similarly, recalls assume there are specific food items out on the market that
can be removed. Recalli
ngapr
i
s
ons
i
mpl
ydoe
s
n’
tma
kes
e
ns
e
.
The second group, involving punishment, does not apply because it assumes a private actor.
Civil penalties levied on a prison would simply take money from one government agency and
give it to another. The normal profit motive this deterrent relies on simply does not exist.
Further, many of the problems that are found in prison are the result of a lack of funding by the
legislature.[242] Imposing fines in these cases would merely exacerbate the problem, rather than
solve it.
Similarly, there can be no revocation of licenses because state funded prisons obviously are not
given licenses. They cannot be. When a restaurant fails inspection, and its license is revoked, it
may simply be closed down. There are plenty of other restaurants consumers may go to, and,
with the exception of the restaurant owner and staff, no one who will be seriously harmed. The
same is not true of a prison kitchen. Inmates have to eat, whether the kitchen that provides their
food is sanitary or not. It cannot be shut down because there is no other source from which
inmates can get their food. In speaking with the Director of Food Services at one prison, I raised
this problem. His response was that, if a kitchen were so unsanitary that it needed to be shut
down, they might possibly rent equipment to prepare food as a temporary measure.[243] But,
given the low funding prisons already get, and the high volume of meals they must serve, such a
solution could not last for long.[244]
An interesting question is the extent to which such measures could be applied to private prisons.
They are driven by profit, and the threat of fines could foreseeably have an impact. Indeed, one

reason some have raised for increasing the use of private prisons is the very fact that they can be
subject to such methods of enforcement.[245] Given that a strong reason states hire them is their
claimed cost savings,[246] however, it is not clear that there would be much room for such fines
before they would exit the market. And, of course, it is likely that they would not quietly accept
such a burden. Indeed, much has been written about how their very profit motive has resulted in
worse care, as they cut food and security for the sake of profit.[247]
Revoking their right to run a prison (i.e., revoking their license) could certainly work. Indeed, in
at least one case a private firm did resign after various problems at a Texas prison.[248] The
actual prison, however, would still be there. Thus this might be a good solution in order to ensure
inmates receive adequate nutrition, since food is continually consumed, and whoever took over
the prison could begin serving their own. Sanitation issues, however, to the extent they are
related to problems like rodent infestation which cannot be fixed without closing the prison
kitchen down, would be just as problematic as in the case of publicly run prisons. In any case, as
of now private prisons are a small minority, and for purposes of this paper, it is enough to say
that none of these remedies are applied to private prisons.
The third avenue of enforcement the FDA uses involves consumer education. This solves many
problems simply by having consumers make better choices. Yet inmates do not have the same
options. They take what they are given. Without the ability to choose, there are no benefits to
greater information. Education will not solve any of their problems.
On a related note, the use of publicity is just as, though less obviously, ineffective. The FDA
uses publicity as an informal tool to effect change, sometimes when other enforcement methods
fail. Thus, in one case, when the FDA could not get a producer to hold some avocado pulp that
may have contained listeria, it simply issued a press release warning about its use.[249] On its
face, publicity might work to encourage change of shady prison practices. An angry public might
demand changes in the same way they do in the food realm. As the previous section has shown,
howe
ve
r
,s
uc
hpubl
i
c
i
t
yi
ss
i
mpl
ynote
f
f
e
c
t
i
vewhe
ni
tc
ome
st
opr
i
s
onc
ondi
t
i
ons
.Pe
opl
edon’
t
exhibit the same level of concern as they do when it comes to food. More will be written about
the consumerist nature of food law in a later section.
The fourth group of enforcement options available to the FDA, involving monitoring, might
theoretically apply to prison. There is no reason, other than deference to prison administrators,
that such monitoring could not occur. As mentioned above, the Rhode Island prison was
inspected after an outbreak of disease several years ago.[250] Indeed, if there is any one
improvement to the current situation that would be both relatively effective and easily
implemented, this would be it. At least with respect to prison food, the infrastructure is already in
place. The FDA already inspects approximately 20,000 establishments per year.[251] Each state
has its own agencies doing similar inspections. There is no reason to believe that what inspectors
look for in restaurant kitchens would be any different from what occurs in prison kitchens.
Perhaps there may be impediments to expanding such a program to other areas of prison life. For
one thing, there is no federal or state agency equipped to make such inspections. At least with
respect to prison food, however, no possible complications seem readily apparent. The issue is
more that there is no political will to enact such change, and possibly the increased funding
necessary to pay for such inspections.

The final enforcement power of the FDA is its ability to create rules as it sees fit in order to
further its directive. Obviously, given the fact that there is no comparable prison oversight
agency, there is no one to institute such rules. In one sense, however, something along the same
lines could be said to be happening in the courts. The courts are the only government body that
exercis any real oversight over prison conditions. In this way, they are analogous to the FDA.
Whereas the FDA might base its rules on its statutory mandate, the courts, by deciding issues on
a case by case basis, begin to create similar rules based on their constitutional mandate. More
about this will be discussed below.
At this point it is clear that, for the most part, none of the FDA enforcement options are available
in prison law. All require, at the least, either some statutory basis or some investment from the
public as a whole. How then, is prison law enforced? There are two primary sources of prison
law, each of which is related to some extent with the other. They both will be discussed here.
In the absence of outside oversight, much of prison regulation is done from within. That is,
prisons themselves will often voluntarily attempt to set and comply with standards they or others
create. Thus, there are several nonprofit organizations that publish standards regarding prison
conditions. The American Public Health Association, for example, publishes a book of standards
for prison health services, requiring, e.g., an onsite dietician to supervise menu planning, or
psychiatric screening before an inmate may be placed in punitive segregation.[252] The
American Correctional Association publishes a similar volume on health care with the
Commission on Accreditation for Corrections.[253] Others are on topics running the gamut from
juvenile boot camp[254] to correctional industries (i.e., inmate work programs)[255]
These outside resources can provide concrete, detailed information about how to best go about
running specific areas of a prison. Interested administrators may use such information as a
method of ensuring that they are doing everything they can to run the prison both safely and
effectively. Thus, the Director of Food Services in the Rhode Island prison system makes sure
inmate meals comply with guidelines from the American Dietetic Association and American
Correctional Association to the extent possible. This includes, e.g., offering two servings of fruit
per day.[256]
In addition, prisons may often decide to run their own inspections to ensure that, e.g., sanitation
is up to their own standards. Thus, in the Rhode Island prison, inspections are conducted monthly
in-house to check for problems in areas such as sanitation, pest control, and air quality.[257]
Letter grades are assigned to denote levels of severity, and times by which problems need to be
fixed.[258]
Finally, prisons can voluntarily seek accreditation from nonprofit organizations like the
American Correctional Association. This process, at least in the case of the American
Correctional Association, involves a three year application period during which a prison must
follow all published guidelines.[259] Audits may be made (with several weeks notice) to ensure
compliance.[260] If problems are found, prison administrators are notified.[261] If they fail to
repair such problems they will not be accredited by the agency.[262] Such a system begins to
have some aspects of the inspections available to food law enforcement agencies. This

accreditation process has been relatively successful, with approximately 80% of state
departments of corrections now involved.[263]
This process of self-regulation is great so far as it goes. Under this regime, interested prisons can
make very real improvements in their systems. But there are two things to note: First, this system
is nevertheless tied to some extent to the regime of court oversight. Thus, the first version of the
standards written by the American Public Health Association were published in 1976. As the
book’
si
nt
r
oduc
t
i
ons
t
a
t
e
s
,“
Notc
oi
nc
i
de
nt
a
l
l
y
,i
n1976t
heUni
t
e
dSt
a
t
e
sSupr
e
meCour
tr
ul
e
d
t
ha
t‘
de
l
i
be
r
a
t
ei
ndi
f
f
e
r
e
nc
et
ot
hes
e
r
i
o
usme
dical needs of prisoners constitutes the unnecessary
a
ndwa
nt
oni
nf
l
i
c
t
i
onofpa
i
n.
.
.
pr
os
c
r
i
be
dbyt
heEi
g
ht
hAme
ndme
nt
.
.
.
’
”
[264] Similarly, the
American Correctional Associati
ona
dve
r
t
i
s
e
soneoft
hebe
ne
f
i
t
sofa
c
c
r
e
di
t
a
t
i
ona
s
,“
ade
f
e
ns
e
a
ga
i
ns
tl
a
ws
ui
t
st
hr
oug
hdoc
ume
nt
a
t
i
ona
ndt
hede
mons
t
r
a
t
i
onofa‘
g
oodf
a
i
t
h’e
f
f
or
tt
oi
mpr
ove
c
ondi
t
i
onsofc
onf
i
ne
me
nt
.
”
[265]
Second, beneficial as this system might be, it is not really law. As long as such systems are
voluntary, they only help the good prisons, but do nothing for the bad. While some prisons
certainly have administrations that honestly care to ensure the well being of inmates, it is easy to
imagine institutions where they do not. The analogue in the food realm would be to merely
publish sanitation standards and hope restaurants comply. Surely, some would out of simple
decency. But just as surely others would not. This can easily be seen by the number of
restaurants that already are shut down for failure to comply with regulations.[266] Perhaps a
nonprofit accreditation organization could be established, but this would actually be quite
different from accreditation in prisons, because, given consumer choice, individual restaurants
might very well be punished for not being accredited. There is no similar ability of prisoners to
demand incarceration at only accredited prisons.[267]
Just as important, even interested administrators cannot always comply with regulations. Given
limited funds and circumstances occasionally beyond their control, prison administrators can
only do their best, which in some cases may not be enough. Thus, for example, when Rhode
I
s
l
a
nd’
spr
i
s
onr
unst
hei
ns
pe
c
t
i
onsdi
s
c
us
s
e
da
bove
,t
he
ya
r
et
obes
upe
r
vi
s
e
dbyoneof two
health coordinators. Yet both left in December of 2004, and, as of March 2005, no replacements
had been found.[268] Similarly, the Director of the Department of Corrections put in a proposal
over four years ago for an expansion of the prison in order to accommodate growing numbers of
inmates, but so far, it has continually been ignored.[269] Without some law mandating certain
procedures in the case of overcrowding, the prison does not have much choice but to accept
inmates as they arrive, and attempt to make the best of it. Even a well meaning prison
administrator cannot follow all the guidelines unless there is some hard rule forcing, not only
him, but the legislature as well to comply.
Similarly, food services does not comply with all applicable standards. For example, the amount
of time between dinner and breakfast is supposed to be 13 hours, but given the constraints of the
prison schedule, this much time is not always given.[270] I do not mean to suggest that the
decision to disregard this rule was a bad one. Indeed, it may have been (and sounds to be) quite
reasonable. The point is, without some outside agency deciding when such rules may or may not
be ignored, the framework is not one of law but of discretion. To the extent discretion results in
good choices, all the better. While I have been discussing the Rhode Island prison to some

e
xt
e
nt
,I
’
dl
i
ket
oma
kec
l
e
a
rt
ha
tIbe
l
i
e
vei
tt
obeave
r
ywe
l
lr
unpr
i
s
on,ma
ki
ngg
oodde
c
i
s
i
ons
,
and facing the same problems as any other.[271] As can be seen from discussions above,
however, the history of prisons is rife with poor choices. There must be some second kind of
enforcement that is, well, enforceable, for the law to do any good.
This gap is filled by the courts. By allowing inmates to challenge prison conditions, they allow
for some enforceable minimum standards with which prisons and legislatures must comply.
Unfortunately, litigation in the courts is a relatively poor method of enforcing such rules, for a
variety of reasons. This section explores the most important issues.
The first point it is important to notice is that court enforcement only occurs after an inmate files
suit, and wins. In order for an inmate to succeed, he usually requires a good lawyer to adequately
present the issues. Unfortunately, most prisoners are indigent. They can rarely afford to hire
lawyers to bring claims, and must instead either represent themselves, or rely on help from nonprofit human rights organizations. One study found that, in the Southern District of New York,
approximately 95% of inmates who brought suit regarding prison conditions did so in forma
pauperis.[272] That is, they claimed that they were too poor even to pay the filing fee, let alone
an attorney. Indeed, some have estimated that 60% of all pro se cases are filed by inmates.[273]
Unsurprisingly, given the complexity of necessary reforms, those cases that are most successful
are not handled by the inmates themselves, but instead by some nonprofit organization or
another. Thus for example, successful litigation against the Rhode Island prison system required
decades of work by the National Prisons Project, a branch of the American Civil Liberties
Union.[274] To the extent, then, that these nonprofits are limited in their ability to not only take,
but find cases with merit, prison oversight suffers. An adversarial form of oversight necessarily
requires an adversary. In most cases there is not one that can adequately present all the issues. As
a result, prison oversight is not comprehensive, but rather ad hoc.
Tha
ti
snott
os
a
ymos
tc
a
s
e
sbr
oug
htbyi
nma
t
e
sha
veme
r
i
t
.I
nde
e
d,mos
tdon’
t
.
[275] There is a
torrent of inmate litigation, and finding those cases with merit is difficult indeed. The number of
lawsuits by prisoners contesting some aspect of their incarceration total in the tens of thousands
in federal court alone.[276] One circuit court wrote (prior to the enactment of the PLRA),
“
Aboutonea
ppe
a
li
ne
ve
r
ys
i
xwhi
c
hc
a
met
oourdoc
ke
t(
17.
3%)t
hel
a
s
tf
ourmont
hswa
sa
state prisoner's pro se civil rights case. A high percentage of these are meritless, and many are
transparently frivolous...Such figures suggest that pro se civil rights litigation has become a
r
e
c
r
e
a
t
i
ona
la
c
t
i
vi
t
yf
ors
t
a
t
epr
i
s
one
r
si
nourCi
r
c
ui
t
.
”
[277]
Some, including many state attorney generals, have responded to this flood by claiming that all
such suits are frivolous,[278] but that is simply not the case. Indeed, in the push to pass the
Prison Litigation Reform Act, the National Association of Attorneys General and several state
a
t
t
or
ne
yg
e
ne
r
a
l
sdi
s
t
r
i
but
e
ds
e
ve
r
a
l“
t
opt
e
n”l
i
s
t
soff
r
i
vol
ousi
nma
t
el
i
t
i
g
a
t
i
on.
[279] Ironically,
at least one of the cases mentioned was anything but frivolous, involving, e.g., claims of
“
ove
r
c
r
owdi
ng
,f
or
c
e
dc
onf
i
ne
me
nto
fpr
i
s
one
r
swi
t
hc
ont
a
g
i
ousdi
s
e
a
s
e
s
,l
a
c
kofpr
ope
r
ventilation, lack of suf
f
i
c
i
e
ntf
ood,a
n
df
oodc
ont
a
mi
na
t
e
dbyr
ode
nt
s
.
”
[280]
But in the face of these numbers, judges may have a hard time maintaining their objectivity. One
law professor outlines the problem:

Whether a prisoner's claim proceeds beyond the complaint stage depends largely on the attitude
with which the magistrate or district judge views the complaint. Claims that are not frivolous on
their faces--and many are not-- usually can be construed to allege facts that warrant at least
appointing counsel to develop the case. But upon investigation so many prisoner claims prove
weak that it is easy to lose objectivity in assessing the merits of their allegations. The
conscientious judge who allows cases to proceed beyond the pleading stage may find the claims
fabricated or distorted. He then becomes less eager to allow future cases to proceed, and his
decisions dismissing cases rarely receive substantive appellate review. Perhaps for these reasons,
federal magistrates and judges in Los Angeles appear to have become less than fully sensitive to
prisoner claims. Their inclination to resolve ambiguities in pleadings against pro se litigants is
the clearest outward manifestation of this attitude.[281]
There are thus two general problems with relying on inmate litigation for enforcement: the fact
that most inmates must file their cases without a lawyer, and the large number of meritless cases
that serve to hide the ones with merit. The end result is that inmate litigation is at the bottom of
the list when it comes to success rates. Estimates of the percentage of successful inmate suits
vary from 6%[282] to 13%.[283] This is far below even other types of cases known for low
success rates. Employment discrimination cases succeed at trial in an average of 22.2% of cases,
and civil rights cases average 34.7%.[284] As one judge put it,
The prisoner who actually suffers a meaningful deprivation of his constitutional rights, but has
no money to afford a trained lawyer, must act pro se, and labor through a confusing maze of
rules, pleadings, motions, decisions, and law in order to vindicate his guaranteed rights. He must
hope that in that sea of frivolous prisoner complaints, his lone, legitimate cry for relief will be
heard by a clerk, magistrate or judge grown weary of battling the waves of frivolity.[285]
But while these are general problems with using litigation as a means for enforcement of prison
standards, there is very good reason to believe that litigation seems uniquely ill-suited to
enforcing food law in particular. In addition to the problems noted above, prisoners often lack
the knowledge required to bring a suit on these issues. While it is likely that most inmates can
effectively understand when they have been beaten without cause, it seems much less likely that
they will be able to ensure, e.g., that the water temperature in dishwashers is at least 180 degrees
Fahrenheit,[286] or that the meals they are being served have the requisite daily value of
vitamins and minerals. Whereas an inmate might be depended upon to bring suit if he is denied
food altogether, in most cases he may not even know that there is a problem (at least, not until
too late). These are subtleties that would best be looked for by experts, not inmates.
Similarly, judges lack the requisite expertise to craft injunctions ensuring inmate health and
safety.[287] No judge knows the pages and pages of requirements to keep a facility sanitary, or
to serve nutritionally adequate food. Things only get more complicated when the special needs
diets of inmates are considered, some of which are prescribed by doctors.[288] To some extent,
this problem is often solved by referring to the requirements of the model standards alluded to
earlier.[289] This is relatively controversial, however, and such standards have been declared by
the Supreme Court to be relevant, but not controlling.[290] TheCour
t
’
sr
e
a
s
oni
ngma
ke
ss
e
ns
e
.
Such model standards clearly cannot be written into the Constitution. But the question remains,

how can judges know when to deviate from them, and when not to? Without a real agency
inquiry into the topic, there is no clear answer.
A third issue to consider is the nature of the Constitutional right in question. That is, the right
pr
ot
e
c
t
si
nma
t
e
sf
r
om“
c
r
ue
la
ndunus
ua
lpuni
s
hme
nt
.
”Asar
e
s
ul
t
,t
heCour
tha
sf
oundt
ha
ta
pr
i
s
onc
a
nn
otbehe
l
dl
i
a
bl
ef
ori
t
sa
c
t
i
onsunl
e
s
si
ta
c
t
e
dwi
t
h“
de
l
i
be
r
a
t
ei
ndi
f
f
e
r
e
nc
e
.
”
[291]
Yet, as discussed above, the issues inherent in prison food do not seem to be much about
punishment.[292] When legislatures send inmates to jail, the punishment envisioned does not
include the possibility that they might go blind because they drink sweetened juice.[293] Indeed,
much of the benefit to oversight is that it may help correct issues that prisons did not even know
existed. As such, the Constitutional rules in this area are not a good match for the harm they seek
to address. Yet when there is no other alternative, the courts have no choice but to get involved
(that is, if Eighth Amendment rights are to mean anything).
Court ordered changes can be of two types:[294] simple orders targeting one specific incident or
practice,[295] or complex injunctions that may often involve highly technical, detailed rulings
covering large portions of prison administration.[296] Cases involving prison food are often of
the latter type, because unsanitary or unhealthy food (that reaches the level of an Eighth
Amendment violation) is often the result of either a massive sanitation problem, or a lack of the
requisite infrastructure to respond to such issues, rather than a single incorrect food handling
technique.[297] As a result, judges must often get involved in day-to-day prison management to
an extent far greater than they are equipped to handle, and to an extent that many believe to be an
unseemly overstepping of judicial authority.
So, for example, in 1978, New York agreed to a 52-page consent decree governing its pre-trial
de
t
e
nt
i
onc
e
nt
e
r
s
.Onedi
s
a
ppr
ovi
ngs
t
ude
ntwr
i
t
e
s
:“
Eve
ns
ome
t
hi
nga
ss
i
mpl
ea
smodi
f
y
i
ngt
he
method of food preparation turned into an arduous process by which the city had to agree to the
number of forks, knive
s
,s
poonsa
nd‘
s
poodl
e
s
’t
ha
te
ve
r
yi
ns
t
i
t
ut
i
ona
lki
t
c
he
nwoul
d
s
t
oc
k.
”
[298] The fact that this kind of invasiveness is sometimes necessary is unsurprising. In the
face of an uncooperative prison administration, one which allowed the harms to materialize in
the first place, a judge may often have to give unequivocal orders to ensure that they are
followed. The question remains, however: should it really be the courts that are saddled with this
burden, rather than an expert agency?
Finally, if this were not enough, the Prison Litigation Reform Act has further limited inmate
ability to litigate on these issues. Its effects harm food litigation in several respects. First, as
ment
i
one
da
bove
,c
our
tor
de
r
sa
ndc
o
n
s
e
ntde
c
r
e
e
si
npr
i
s
ons
ui
t
smus
tno
wbe“
na
r
r
owl
y
t
a
i
l
or
e
d”t
oa
ddr
e
s
st
heCons
t
i
t
ut
i
ona
lha
r
m.Ye
tmos
tpr
i
s
onf
oods
ui
t
sa
r
ene
c
e
s
s
a
r
i
l
yoft
he
complex type, requiring detailed rulings to repair systemic problems. Presumably, many such
decisions may no longer be upheld, and judges will have to tailor their rulings in such a way as to
make them less effective.[299] Second, the requirement of “
a
c
t
ua
li
nj
ur
y
”s
e
e
msc
ompl
e
t
e
l
y
inappropriate when considering issues of food law. After all, much of the point of sanitation and
good nutrition is to avoid such harms. Forbidding inmates from bringing suit in these cases
essentially requires any oversight to wait until the problem is a large one. Third, its limits on
filing in forma pauperis make it that much harder for inmates to bring suits on all issues,
including those of food law. On its face it may seem that this limitation helps inmates with valid

claims, since it prevents more frivolous lawsuits from being brought. Nevertheless, the only
really comprehensive empirical research done on the subject has found that the PLRA has
resulted in a drop, not in frivolous lawsuits, but rather all inmate lawsuits.[300]
All of this is to say that the current system of enforcement of prison food law is woefully
inadequate. Whereas the FDA and state agencies have real authority to effect change, the closest
analogue in the prison setting is an amalgamation of voluntary institutions and the courts. The
end result is a poor cousin to its general law counterpart.
Having discussed how the law of prison food is different both in the political realm in which it
operates, and the effectiveness of its enforcement, I turn now, briefly, to some of the ways it
differs in its substantive focus.

Nature of Prison Food Law
There are several overlapping ways in which the law of prison food is very different from
general food law. All have been touched on in the previous sections, but I believe it will be
useful if I briefly discuss them here, to give a better sense of the law as it is.
The first important difference resides in the fact that inmates have their lives controlled while in
prison, while regular citizens have numerous choices they can make at any time. While this may
seem an obvious point, it results in a very different approach in the two fields. Thus, much of
food law is very consumerist in its approach, especially with regards to nutrition. The FDA has
consistently followed an approach where it simply notifies consumers of issues through labeling,
and allows them to decide which course of action to take. The original 1906 Pure Food and
Drugs Act prohibited misleading consumers about the foods they were buying. With the second
Act, the FDA had the right to specifically require that additional information be labeled.
Since then, the U.S. approach to nutrition has continually focused on giving the consumer
opt
i
ons
.Thede
c
i
s
i
oni
nt
he1960’
sa
nd1970’
st
oba
c
kof
fs
t
r
i
c
tl
i
mi
t
sonf
or
t
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
onoff
o
odi
s
a prime example. In their place, the FDA merely required additional labeling, and made sure
producers did not mislead consumers about the benefits of fortification. Congressional legislation
mirrors this trend. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, mentioned above, allows
for the sale of dietary supplements so long as they notify consumers that their claims have not
been tested by the FDA. The notion seems to be that consumers should have a right to choose
whether they would like to try them, even if they may be ineffective. Congress passed a similar
law with respect to Saccharin, allowing it to be sold with a warning about possible cancerous
effects observed in mice. Even some laws ensuring adequate sanitation follow the consumerist
approach. Thus, in some states, cleanliness grades are posted on the internet, or prominently
posted in the windows of restaurants that have already passed inspection.[301] Consumer choice
here is used as a method of improving conditions through the marketplace.
Yet none of this is possible when it comes to prisons. Whether an inmate is misled about the
contents of his food or not, he must eat it. Having an inmate discover that he is not getting
enough vitamins does little good if he has no access to healthier foods. Instead, prison food law

necessarily has a prescriptive approach. The law mandates certain minimum requirements that
mus
tbeme
tbypr
i
s
ons
,a
ndt
ha
t
’
sa
l
l
.I
nma
t
e
sa
r
enotg
i
ve
nc
hoi
c
e
s
.The
yha
venor
i
g
htt
oor
de
r
from a menu.[302] Instea
d,i
nma
t
e
s“
mus
tbe
”s
e
r
ve
dnut
r
i
t
i
ona
l
l
ya
de
qua
t
eme
a
l
s
.
[303] Prisons
“
mus
ts
e
r
ve
”a
tl
e
a
s
tt
hr
e
eme
a
l
sada
y
.
[304] Indeed, the prescriptivist nature of the law can
manifest itself in the fact that there has been litigation on aspects of meals that most people take
for granted. Thus caselaw has been written, for example, on the amount of time a prison must
give inmates to complete their meals.[305] This difference in focus can especially be seen by the
fact that issues regarding special diets, either as a result of health or religion, compose such a
large part of prison law. Without the ability to make their own choices regarding what they eat,
inmates have no choice but to sue.
A second difference between prison food law and food law generally is the constitutional nature
of prison food law. That is, since there are no governing statutes, the relevant standards are
pulled out of the Constitution. This has two interesting effects. The first is that the Constitutional
provisions interpreted by the courts are necessarily vaguer than the statutes and regulations
involved in food law.[306] At the same time, in order for the courts to accomplish the goals of
the Constitutional rights in question, they have been forced to read into them this necessary
complexity. The end result is that the courts act, in many respects, as a regulatory agency with a
ve
r
yva
g
uema
nda
t
e
.Iha
vedi
s
c
us
s
e
dt
hi
spoi
ntbe
f
or
e
,a
ndwon’
tbe
l
a
bori
t
,buti
ti
si
mpo
r
t
a
nt
to see that the result is both undemocratic and inefficient, since judges must act with no guidance
in an area in which they have no expertise. Another important difference is that prison law now
mi
r
r
or
sCons
t
i
t
ut
i
ona
ll
a
wi
ni
t
sf
oc
us
.Tha
ti
s
,t
hec
our
t
s
’mandate comes from the Bill of
Rights. Consequently, important law revolves around, not only cruel and unusual punishment,
but also, e.g., the first amendment right to free speech,[307] the right to an attorney,[308] due
process rights of access to the courts,[309] and freedom of religion claims.[310]
This manifests itself in the food realm by the comparatively strong rights of inmates to religious
di
e
t
s
.TheRhodeI
s
l
a
ndpr
i
s
on’
sDi
r
e
c
t
orofFoodSe
r
vi
c
e
sde
s
c
r
i
be
dt
he
s
ec
l
a
i
msa
s“
t
he3
00l
b.
g
or
i
l
l
ai
nt
h
er
oom.
”
[311] Indeed, these claims are interesting because of the way religion seems
to trump the prescriptive nature of prison food law generally. Such suits are essentially an
i
nma
t
e
’
sde
ma
ndf
ort
her
i
g
htt
ochoose the kinds of food he eats, so long as that decision is
based on religious belief. To see this, one need only look to some of the effects of the doctrine.
When a prison begins to offer a kosher alternative meal, often a large number of inmates will
begin to claim that they are Jewish, also requiring the other meal.[312] Similarly, inmates will
often try to push the bounds of such doctrines. The Utah Director of Correction wrote of one
e
xa
mpl
e
:“
I
nt
hec
a
s
eoft
heChur
c
hoft
heNe
wSongt
he
i
rr
e
l
i
g
i
onr
e
qui
r
e
das
pe
c
i
a
ldi
e
tof
Porterhouse steak and Bristol Cream Sherry.”
[313] Of course, such claims are likely to fail, but
they demonstrate the fact that improvements in prison food come from the Constitution as a
whole, not just the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.
A final difference is the importance of punishment issues in prison food. This is prison, after all.
Thus, food, like so much else in prisons, has been used to punish unruly inmates, and caselaw
has developed about the limits to which prisons can go. These cases revolve either around the
withholding of food, or the offering of food intentionally made less appetizing. In the first case,
the rules prohibiting such actions are surprisingly robust. Indeed, this is one of the few areas in
whi
c
ht
he
r
ei
ss
t
a
t
ut
or
yl
a
w.“
Ma
nys
t
a
t
e
s‘
bys
t
a
t
ut
eorr
e
g
ul
a
t
i
onf
or
bi
dt
heus
eoff
ooda
s

puni
s
hme
ntorr
e
qui
r
et
ha
ts
e
gr
e
ga
t
e
di
nma
t
e
sr
e
c
e
i
vet
hes
a
meme
a
l
sa
sot
he
rpr
i
s
one
r
s
.
’
”
[314]
Similarly, where a prison had a rule requiring inmates to be dressed before they were fully fed, it
could not enforce the rule against an inmate for twelve consecutive days.[315]
Other cases involve deliberately unappetizing food served to misbehaving inmates. In an
i
nve
nt
i
vez
e
a
lt
ha
tc
oul
donl
ybef
oundi
npr
i
s
ons
,s
omec
r
e
a
t
e
d“
f
oodl
oa
f
,
”byt
a
ki
ngor
di
na
r
y
meals and blending them into a loaf shaped mush.[316] Courts have allowed such meals so long
as they were adequately nutritious, and the behavior resulting in the deprivation was related to
food (e.g. throwing food).[317] The point is, such cases simply could not exist outside the prison.
This concludes the section on the nature of prison food. The purpose has been, not to give a
detailed analysis of prison food doctrine, but to show, through examples, the ways in which
prison food tackles problems from a completely different perspective than general food law. I
now move on to the conclusion of the paper.
Conclusion
This paper has attempted to describe prison food law and demonstrate its extraordinary
differences and weaknesses, as compared to the rest of the food law regime. It lacks the political
support of food law, and as a result does not have the same enforcement mechanisms.
Interestingly, it has Constitutional implications that food law usually does not. Finally, the issues
ofpuni
s
hme
ntt
ha
ta
r
et
heve
r
yr
e
a
s
onf
orapr
i
s
on’
se
xi
s
t
e
nc
ec
ompl
i
c
a
t
ea
nda
l
t
e
rt
hea
na
l
y
s
i
s
that must be conducted on specific policy questions.
To some extent these disparate strands do not tie themselves into one neat package. If anything is
true of prison food law, it is that it is messy. Rules are muddy and enforcement is haphazard.
Different states, cities, different individual prisons have their own policies, rules, and procedures
that can vary widely. Even the history of prisons demonstrates a meandering, back and forth
pattern, as does the level of court oversight.
But they do begin do demonstrate how and why prison food law has wallowed in the general
mess of prison law. More importantly, they question whether these reasons are good ones. The
role of punishment must certainly be taken into account in creating a prison food law, but that
does not mean that one should not be legislatively created. Nor does it mean that it cannot
mirror, at least in some respects, other aspects of food law. Sanitation seems like it should be a
basic norm, one that crosses the divide between incarceration and freedom. Punishment does not
manifest itself (or, at least, should not) as a desire to cause food poisoning. Even assuming
deference to prison administrators, their role would not be unduly impinged by occasional
inspections of kitchens, at least if they were scheduled so as not to interfere.
Prison food law is weak, and in large part that is because the public seems to want it that way.
But this bad policy, not just as a matter of ideals, but as a matter of simple practicality. For in the
absence of statutory law, the courts have been forced to step in. As a result, the law is being
written anyway, but this time by a government body not well equipped to handle the load. The
proponents of the PLRA looked on the mass of inmate litigation and decided the problem was
frivolous inmate lawsuits. They missed the point. These lawsuits were not the cause of the

problem, but a symptom. If the courts were not forced to take this kind of litigation to protect the
Constitutional rights of inmates, if there were some body attempting to handle the bulk of the
load in a more efficient, less adversarial system, there would not be such a large number of
i
nma
t
es
ui
t
s
.Exa
c
t
l
ywha
tf
or
mt
hi
sove
r
s
i
g
htmi
g
htt
a
keIdon’
tknow.Butt
heque
s
t
i
onha
s
n’
t
even been asked, a solution has not been searched for. Given the current state of the law, it
cannot hurt to start.

[1] George M. Burditt, The History of Food Law, 50 FOOD & DRUG L.J. 197, 201 (1995).
[2] Peter Barton Hutt, Government Regulation of the Integrity of the Food Supply, 4 ANN. REV.
OF NUTRITION 1, 3 (1984).
[3] Id. at 4.
[4] Id.
[5] Id. at 5.
[6] Id.
[7] Id. For examples of such laws, see 23 & 24 Vict., ch. 84 (1860); 35 & 36 Vict., ch. 74 (1872).
38 & 39 Vict., ch. 63 (1875). Richard L. Waters, The FDA: It's Not Just About Tobacco, 52 J.
MO. B. 231, n. 14 (1996).
[8] Hutt, supra note 2, at 5-6.
[9] Id. at 6.
[10] Id.
[11] Wendy C. Perdue, Lawrence O. Gostin, and Lesley A. Stone, Public Health and the Built
Environment: Historical, Empirical, and Theoretical Foundations for an Expanded Role, 31 J.L.
MED. & ETHICS 557, 558 (2003).
[12] See, e.g., Sandra B. Eskin, Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket: Egg Safety and the Case
for a Single Food-Safety Agency, 59 FOOD & DRUG L.J
.441,444(
2004)(
“
St
a
t
ea
g
r
i
c
ul
t
ur
eor
health department officials carry out the actual inspections of supermarkets, restaurants,
institutions, and other retai
lf
oode
s
t
a
bl
i
s
hme
nt
s
.
”
)See also Florida Department of Health,
Public Health Services, at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/planning_eval/phealth/services.htm
(
“
FOODI
NSPECTI
ON-- Programs ensure that certain food service establishments operate in a
safe and sanitary manner to minimize the occurrence of foodborne illnesses. This includes
i
ns
pe
c
t
i
onoff
a
c
i
l
i
t
i
e
swhe
r
ef
oodi
sp
r
oc
e
s
s
e
d,pr
e
pa
r
e
dors
e
r
ve
d.
”
)
.

[13] Adjusted for inflation, $48.2 billion was spent on restaurant sales in 1970. That number has
ballooned to a projected $475.8 billion for 2005. National Restaurant Association, Restaurant
Industry Fact Sheet (2005), available at
http://www.restaurant.org/pdfs/research/2005factsheet.pdf.
[14] UPTON SINCLAIR, THE JUNGLE (1906)
[15] LAWRENCE M. FRIEDMAN, AMERICAN LAW IN THE 20TH CENTURY 60 (2002).
[16] Burditt, supra note 1, at 198.
[17] Pub. L. No. 59-384, 34 Stat. 768 (1906).
[18] Burditt, supra note 1, at 201. Pub. L. No. 59-242, 34 Stat. 1260 (1907).
[19] Mary Whisner, Story Time in the Law Library, 96 LAW LIBR. J. 371, n.20 (2004).
[20] See Pure Food and Drugs Act, Pub. L. No. 59-384, 34 Stat. 768, 770 § 7 (1906).
[21] See id.
[22] See id. at 770 § 8.
[23] See id. at 769 § 4.
[24] See id. at 768 § 1. Current dollar value found using The Inflation Calculator, at
http://www.westegg.com/inflation/.
[25] Hutt, supra note 2, at 6.
[26] Id. at 7.
[27] Id.
[28] Id.
[29] Carol Ballentine, Taste of Rasberries, Taste of Death, The 1937 Elixir Sulfanilamide
Incident, FDA CONSUMER MAGAZINE Vol. 15 (June 1981), available at
http://www.fda.gov/oc/history/elixir.html.
[30] Id.
[31] Id.
[32] Id.

[33] Id.
[34] Id.
[35] Id.
[36] Id.
[37] Id.
[38] John Scott Batterman, Note: Brother Can You Spare a Drug: Should the Experimental Drug
Distribution Standards Be Modified in Response to the Needs of Persons with Aids?, 19
HOFSTRA L. REV. 191, n. 40 (1990).
[39] Pub. L. No. 75-717, 52 Stat. 1040 (1938).
[40] While there may be some question about whether Congress may have acted at a later time
to revise the 1906 regulatory regime, there is no doubt that it was the sulfanilamide disaster that
finally pushed a stalling Congress into immediate action. See, e.g., Batterman, supra note 38, at
197; Burditt, supra note 1, at 200; Ballentine, supra note 29.
[41] The 1906 law was 5 pages long. The 1938 revision clocked in at 20. Compare Pub. L. No.
59-384, 34 Stat. 768 (1906), with Pub. L. No. 75-717, 52 Stat. 1040 (1938).
[42] Hutt, supra note 2, at 7.
[43] Burditt, supra note 1, at 198.
[44] See 52 Stat. at 1043, § 302.
[45] Hutt, supra note 2, at 7.
[46] See 21C.
F.
R.§104.
20.(
“
[
R]
a
ndomf
or
t
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
on of foods could result in over- or
underfortification in consumer diets and create nutrient imbalances in the food supply. It could
a
l
s
or
e
s
ul
ti
nde
c
e
pt
i
veormi
s
l
e
a
di
ngc
l
a
i
msf
orc
e
r
t
a
i
nf
oods
.
”
)
[47] Hutt, supra note 2, at 10.
[48] Id. at 11.
[49] Id.
[50] Id. See, e.g., In the Matter of ITT Continental Baking Company, Inc., et al., 83 F.T.C. 865
(
1971)(
Fi
ndi
ngma
ke
r
sof“
Hos
t
e
s
s
”s
na
c
kc
a
ke
sa
nd“
Wonde
rBr
e
a
d”l
i
a
bl
ef
ors
t
a
t
e
me
nt
s
i
mpl
y
i
ngt
h
e
i
rpr
oduc
t
swoul
d“
he
l
py
o
urc
hi
l
dgr
owbi
gge
ra
nds
t
r
onge
r
.
”
)

[51] Drug Amendments of 1962, Pub. L. No. 87-781, 76 Stat. 780 (1962).
[52] Audrey A. Hale, Note, The FDA's Mail Import Policy: A Questionable Response to the Aids
Epidemic, 16 RUTGERS COMPUTER & TECH. L.J. 169, 173 (1990). Though never released in
the United States, in Europe thalidomide was prescribed to pregnant women to combat morning
sickness. Unfortunately, its use led to birth defects and a scandal so large that it crossed to the
United States as well.
[53] Pub. L. No. 89-755, 80 Stat. 1296 (1966).
[54] Burditt, supra note 1, at 200.
[55] Peter Hoover, The Old-New Division in Risk Regulation, 69 VA. L. REV. 1025, 1048
(1983). Instead, the new law required labeling of all products containing saccharin. Saccharin
Study and Labeling Act, Pub. L. No. 95-203, 91 Stat. 1451 (1977).
[56] Pub. L. No. 103-417, 108 Stat. 4325 (1994).
[57] I
nde
e
d
,onec
omme
nt
a
t
orwr
ot
e
,“
Ibe
l
i
e
vet
heDSHE Act was solely responsible for the
purchase of many telephone answering machines by Congressional committee staff offices and
Members of Congress...Many Members of Congress admit that they were lobbied as heavy on
this legislation as any in their memor
i
e
s
.
”Wi
l
l
i
a
mJ
.Sk
i
nne
r
,Allowable Advertising Claims for
Dietary Supplements, 5 J. PHARMACY & LAW 309 (1995).
[58] LAWRENCE M. FRIEDMAN, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY
48(
1993)(
“
Thepe
ni
t
e
nt
i
a
r
ys
y
s
t
e
m wa
sba
s
i
c
a
l
l
yani
ne
t
e
e
nt
hc
e
nt
ur
yi
nve
nt
i
on.
”
)
.
[59] See David J. Rothman, Perfecting the Prison, THE OXFORD HISTORY OF THE PRISON
111, 114 (1995). As will be seen below, there was some amount of imprisonment prior to this,
but this was the rare exception, not the rule.
[60] Id. at 111.
[61] See Edward M. Peters, Prison Before the Prison, THE OXFORD HISTORY OF THE
PRISON 3,5(
1995)(
“
s
t
oni
ngt
ode
a
t
h(
l
a
pi
da
t
i
on)
;t
hr
owi
ngt
heof
f
e
nde
rf
r
om ac
l
i
f
f
(precipitation); binding him to a stake so that he suffered a slow death and public abuse while
dying (apotympanismos,a
ne
a
r
l
yf
or
m ofc
r
uc
i
f
i
xi
on)
.
.
.
”
)
[62] See id. at 6.
[63] See id. (
i
nc
l
udi
ng
,e
.
g
.
,i
mpos
i
ngt
hes
t
a
t
usof“
s
ha
me
f
ul
ne
s
s
,
”a
ndpubl
i
cde
nunc
i
a
t
i
o
n
)
.
[64] See id. at 6, 17.The strangest of these methods of execution was the culleus, wherein the
offender was placed in a sack with a dog, an ape, and a serpent, and the sack then tossed into the
sea.

[65] Id.
[66] See id. at 17.
[67] See, e.g., id. a
t6(
di
s
c
us
s
i
ngSoc
r
a
t
e
s
’t
r
i
a
l
,i
nwhi
c
hhema
kes reference to spending his
“
da
y
si
npr
i
s
on,
”a
sa“
s
l
a
veoft
hema
g
i
s
t
r
a
t
e
s
”
)Not
et
ha
te
ve
nhe
r
e
,Soc
r
a
t
e
s
’s
t
a
t
e
me
nt
si
mpl
y
forced labor, not merely confinement.
[68] See id. at 15. See also id. at 17-19.
[69] E.g., id. at 18.
[70] Id. at 34.
[71] Pieter Spierburg, The Body and the State, OXFORD HISTORY OF THE PRISON 49, 51
(1995).
[72] Id.
[73] Id. at 52-53.
[74] Id. at 64.
[75] Id. at 66.
[76] Peters, supra note 61, at 34.
[77] Id. at 40.
[78] See Rothman, supra note 59, at 112.
[79] FRIEDMAN, supra note 58, at 49.
[80] Id.
[81] Id. at 19 (quoting Diodorus Siculus).
[82] Randall McGowen, The Well-Ordered Prison, OXFORD HISTORY OF THE PRISON 79
(1995).
[83] FRIEDMAN, supra note 58, at 78.
[84] Peters, supra note 61, at 39-40.
[85] Matthew W. Meskell, Note: The History of Prisons in the United States from 1777 to 1877,
51 STAN. L. REV. 839, 841-842 (1999).

[86] FRIEDMAN, supra note 58, at 77.
[87] See Rothman, supra note 59, at 114.
[88] See DAVID J. ROTHMAN, THE DISCOVERY OF THE ASYLUM 60 (1971)
[89] See id. at 59-60(
quot
i
ngCe
s
a
r
eBe
c
c
a
r
i
a
,a
ne
nl
i
g
ht
e
nme
nts
c
hol
a
r
,s
t
a
t
i
ng
,“
Thes
e
ve
r
i
t
y
of the punishment of itself emboldens men to commit the very wrongs it is supposed to prevent...
The certainty of punishment, even if it be moderate, will always make a stronger impression than
t
hef
e
a
rofa
not
he
rwhi
c
hi
smor
et
e
r
r
i
bl
ebutc
ombi
ne
dwi
t
ht
hehopeofi
mpuni
t
y
.
”
)
[90] Meskell, supra note 85, at 843.
[91] See id.
[92] Id.
[93] Id. at 847.
[94] Id. at 848.
[95] Id. at 849.
[96] Id. at 850.
[97] Id.
[98] Id.
[99] Id.
[100] FRIEDMAN, supra note 58, at 77.
[101] Id.
[102] Note that conditions were in any case not so monastic: disobeying rules often resulted in a
whipping. In 1840, when reform movements moved to ban whippings, they were merely
replaced with other punishments (e.g., being raised by their thumbs) that seemed, if anything
crueler. See Meskell, supra note 85, at 858-859.
[103] Rothman, supra note 59, at 117.
[104] Id.
[105] Id.

[106] Id. at 119.
[107] Id. at 121.
[108] Id. at 125.
[109] Id.
[110] Id.
[111] Edgardo Rotman, The Failure of Reform, OXFORD HISTORY OF THE PRISON 169,
171 (1995).
[112] See id. at 173.
[113] Id. at 175.
[114] Id. at 183.
[115] Id.
[116] Id. at 184.
[117] See James E. Robertson, The Majority Opinion as the Social Construction of Reality: The
Supreme Court and Prison Rules, 53 OKLA. L. REV. 161,165(
2000)(
“
We
l
li
nt
ot
het
we
nt
i
e
t
h
century, state governments delegated extensive authority to prison wardens and asked for little
a
c
c
ount
a
bi
l
i
t
yi
nr
e
t
ur
n.
”
)
.
[118] Id. at 171-172. For a list of several such opinions, see id. at n.69.
[119] See Margo Schlanger, Beyond the Hero Judge: Institutional Reform Litigation as
Litigation, 97 Mich. L. Rev. 1994, 2003 (1999).
[120] Id.
[121] Id. See, e.g., Heitman v. Gabriel, 524 F.Supp. 622 (W.D.Mo. 1981) (court order finding
various conditions at jail unconstitutional, including, e.g., fire hazards, lack of adequate legal and
recreational reading materials, basic sanitation issues, and lack of adequate bedding).
[122] Schlanger, supra note 119, at 2004.
[123] Robertson, supra note 117, at 175.
[124] See, e.g., Palmigiano v. Garrahy, Nos. 74-172 and 75-032 (D.R.I.) (court oversight of
Rhode Island prison system from 1977 until settlement agreement reached in 1994).

[125] Palmigiano v. Garrahy, 443 F. Supp. 956, 961 (D.R.I. 1977).
[126] Id.
[127] Id. at 962-963.
[128] Rotman, supra note 111, at 177 (citing KATERI
CHARDSO’
HARE,I
NPRI
SON63-65
(1923)).
[129] See id. at 192.
[130] See Schlanger, supra note 119, at 2001.
[131] See id. at 1997-1998.
[132] Compare Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 555-556(
1974)(
“
[
T]
h
e
r
ei
snoi
r
onc
ur
t
a
i
n
dr
a
wnbe
t
we
e
nt
heCons
t
i
t
ut
i
ona
ndt
hepr
i
s
onsoft
hec
ount
r
y
”
)with Block v. Rutherford, 468
U.
S.576,589(
1984)(
“
Whe
nt
heDi
s
t
r
i
c
tCour
tf
oundt
ha
tma
nyf
a
c
t
or
sc
ouns
e
l
e
da
g
a
i
ns
t
c
ont
a
c
tvi
s
i
t
s
,i
t
si
nqui
r
ys
houl
dha
vee
nde
d.Thec
our
t
'
sf
ur
t
he
r‘
ba
l
a
nc
i
ng
’r
e
s
ul
t
e
di
na
n
impermissible substitution of its view on the proper administration of Central Jail for that of the
e
xpe
r
i
e
nc
e
da
dmi
ni
s
t
r
a
t
or
soft
ha
tf
a
c
i
l
i
t
y
.
”
)
.
[133] Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-10, 110 Stat. 1321-66-1321-77 (1996) (codified at 11 U.S.C.
§ 523; 18 U.S.C. §§ 3624, 3626; 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 1915, 1915A; 42 U.S.C. §§ 1997-1997h).
[134] Elizabeth Alexander, Prison Litigation Reform Act Raises The Bar, 16-WTR CRIM. JUST.
10, 11 (2002).
[135] A consent decree is a special kind of settlement whereby the court may enforce the terms
of the agreement.
[136] 18 U.S.C. § 3626 (a)(1)(A).
[137] See 18 U.S.C. § 3626 (b).
[138] See 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
[139] See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(d).
[140] See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e).
[141] See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).
[142] Margo Schlanger, Inmate Litigation, 116 HARV. L. REV. 1555, 1558 (2003)
[143] See generally id.

[144] See generally Alan Elsner, Supermax Prisons: A Growing Human Rights Issue, 28-AUG
CHAMPION 36 (2004).
[145] Id. at 37-38.
[146] Id. at 38.
[147] E.g., David E. Pozen, Managing a Correctional Marketplace: Prison Privatization in the
United States and the United Kingdom, 19 J.L. & POL. 253, 256 (2003).
[148] See, e.g., Developments in the Law: The Law of Prisons, 115 HARV.L.REV. 1838, 1870
(2002).
[149] See, e.g., THE OXFORD HISTORY OF THE PRISON (Norval Morris & David J.
Rothman eds., 1995); HARRY E. BARNES, THE EVOLUTION OF PENOLOGY IN
PENNSYLVANIA (1927); ROTHMAN, supra note 88.
[150] See generally MICHAEL B. MUSHLIN, RIGHTS OF PRISONERS §§ 2:10, 3:13, 6:10
(3d ed. 2002)
[151] Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 8 (1992). See also MUSHLIN, supra note 150 at § 2:2.
[152] See Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 297 (1991).
[153] Id.
[154] Note that other tests will be applied in other cases. Thus, in guard brutality cases, the
subjective test applies a standard of maliciousness. MUSHLIN, supra note 150 at § 2:2. In cases
involving other Constitutional rights, e.g. First Amendment freedom of religion cases (some of
which involve dietary restrictions and will be discussed later in this paper), the proper test is
outlined in Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987). That test looks to four factors: (1) whether there
i
sa“
‘
va
l
i
d
,r
a
t
i
ona
lc
onne
c
t
i
on’be
t
we
e
nt
her
e
g
ul
a
t
i
ona
ndl
e
g
i
t
i
ma
t
eg
ove
r
nme
nt
a
lobj
e
c
t
i
ve
s
,
”
(
2)“
whe
t
he
rt
he
r
ea
r
e‘
a
l
t
e
r
na
t
i
veme
a
nsofe
xe
r
c
i
s
i
ngt
her
i
g
hta
ti
s
s
ue
,
’
”(
3)“
t
he effect that the
claimed right of the prisoner would have on the institution including other inmates and
c
or
r
e
c
t
i
onsof
f
i
c
e
r
sa
ndgove
r
nme
ntr
e
s
our
c
e
s
,
”a
nd(
4)“
whe
t
he
rt
he
r
ea
r
eobvi
ous
,e
a
s
y
alternatives available to prison officials to meet their legitimate interests without impinging on
pr
i
s
one
rr
i
g
ht
s
.
”MUSHLIN, supra note 150 at § 1:9.
[155] Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 304 (1991).
[156] Deshaney v. Winnebago County Dep't of Social Services, 489 U.S. 189, 200 (1989).
[157] MUSHLIN, supra note 150, at § 2:10.
[158] See R.I. GEN. LAWS §§ 21-27-1 –27-21-11.13

[159] Telephone Interview with John Rogers, Associate Director of Food Services, Rhode Island
Department of Corrections (Mar. 25, 2005).
[160] Id.
[161] Mr. Rogers noted that a health inspector came in on the one year anniversary from when
t
he
yr
e
ope
ne
daki
t
c
he
ni
nt
heRhodeI
s
l
a
ndpr
i
s
on,butc
ha
r
a
c
t
e
r
i
z
e
di
ta
s“
ami
s
t
a
ke
,
”a
nds
a
i
d
he should not have been allowed inside the building. Id.
[162] Id.
[163] See generally MUSHLIN, supra note 150, at §§ 2:10, 3:13, 6:10.
[164] See, e.g., Food and Cosmetic Guidance Documents, at
http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/guidance.html.
[165] Telephone Interview with John Rogers, Associate Director of Food Services, Rhode Island
Department of Corrections (Mar. 25, 2005).
[166] Categories given are as described by Margo Schlanger, an expert in inmate litigation.
Telephone Interview with Margo Schlanger, Professor of Law, Washington University (Jan.
2005).
[167] See, e.g., Heitman v. Gabriel, 524 F. Supp. 622 (D. Mo. 1981).
[168] See, e.g., Grubbs v. Bradley, 552 F. Supp. 1052, 1069 (D. Tenn. 1982).
[169] Thus, for example, in the Rhode Island prison, the kitchens make approximately 11,000
meals per day. Telephone Interview with Albert Bucci, Assistant to the Director, Rhode Island
Department of Corrections (May 7, 2003). In order to accommodate these large numbers, meals
are served in three shifts, for a total of nine meals per day, with only short intervals in between.
As a result, when something breaks down, a temporary (and inadequate) solution is often
necessary in order to keep inmates fed. Interview with Albert Bucci, in Cranston, R.I. (Apr. 11,
2003).
[170] See, e.g., Cooper v. Sheriff, Lubbock County, Tex., 929 F.2d 1078 (5th Cir. 1991) (rule
withholding food from inmates who are not fully clothed at mealtime unconstitutional as applied
to inmate who did not eat for 12 consecutive days).
[171] See, e.g., Cunningham v. Jones, 567 F.2d 653 (6th Cir. 1977).
[172] See, e.g., Balla v. Idaho State Bd. of Corrections, 595 F. Supp. 1558, 1574-1575 (D. Idaho
1984).
[173] See, e.g., Kahane v. Carlson, 527 F.2d 492 (2d Cir. 1975).

[174] Burditt, supra note 1, at 201.
[175] Requiring, e.g., mandatory inspection of all eating establishments, and updating the rules
for such inspections. See, e.g., Hotel, Food Service Establishment and Public Swimming Pool
Inspection Act , Tenn. Code Ann. §68-14-301 et seq. (2002) (increasing restaurant permit fees
and giving increased funds to local inspectors).
[176] Meskell, supra note 85, at 864.
[177] See note 128, supra, and accompanying text.
[178] See, e.g., Oz (HBO 1997-2003) (television series about prison life depicting brutal violence
as a common occurrence; THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (Columbia Pictures 1994)
(depicting, inter alia, a corrupt warden and gang rape). The Shawshank Redemption also has a
seen in which Andy Dufraine, the protagonist, sits down with his meal only to find a worm
crawling inside of it.
[179] See Mark Warr, Poll Trends: Public Opinion on Crime and Punishment, THE PUBLIC
OPINION QUARTERLY Vol. 59, No.2, p. 296, 307 (Summer 1995).
[180] See id.
[181] See Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 349 (1981)
[182] See, e.g., United States Sentencing Comm'n, Sentencing Guidelines for United States
Courts, 52 Fed. Reg. 18,046, (1987) (“
TheCompr
e
he
ns
i
veCr
i
meCont
r
olAc
tof1984f
or
e
s
e
e
s
guidelines that will further the basic purposes of criminal punishment by deterring crime,
i
nc
a
pa
c
i
t
a
t
i
ngt
heof
f
e
nde
r
,pr
ovi
di
ngj
us
tpuni
s
hme
nt
,a
ndr
e
ha
bi
l
i
t
a
t
i
ngt
heof
f
e
nde
r
.
”
)
.
[183] See Jeffrey D. Bukowski, Comment, The Eighth Amendment And Original Intent:
Applying The Prohibition Against Cruel And Unusual Punishments To Prison Deprivation Cases
Is Not Beyond The Bounds Of History And Precedent, 99 DICK. L. REV. 419, 434-435 (Winter,
1995)(
“
Pr
i
s
onc
ondi
t
i
onsa
r
ea
l
l
owe
dt
ober
e
s
t
r
i
c
t
i
vea
nde
ve
nha
r
s
h,a
st
he
ya
r
epa
r
toft
he
pe
na
l
t
yt
ha
tc
r
i
mi
na
lof
f
e
nde
r
spa
yf
ort
he
i
rof
f
e
ns
e
sa
g
a
i
ns
ts
oc
i
e
t
y
.
”
)
[184] See Rothman, supra note 59 at 114.
[185] See Norval Morris, The Contemporary Prison, THE OXFORD HISTORY OF THE
PRISON 227, 247 (1995).
[186] See Estelle v. Gamble,429U.
S.97,102(
1976)(
“
t
hepr
i
ma
r
yc
onc
e
r
noft
hedr
a
f
t
e
r
s[
of
t
heEi
g
ht
hAme
ndme
nt
]wa
st
opr
os
c
r
i
be‘
t
or
t
ur
e
s
’a
ndot
he
r‘
ba
r
ba
r
ous
’me
t
hodsof
puni
s
hme
nt
”
)
.

[187] See Uni
t
e
dSt
a
t
e
sv
.Dot
t
e
r
we
i
c
h,320U.
S.277,280(
1943)(
“
Thepur
pos
e
soft
hi
s
legislation thus touch phases of the lives and health of people which, in the circumstances of
modern industrialism, are largely beyond self-pr
ot
e
c
t
i
on”
)
.
[188] See, e.g., Sanders v. Illinois, 198 F.3d 626, 628(
7t
hCi
r
.
,1999)(
r
e
i
ns
t
a
t
i
ngi
nma
t
e
’
sc
l
a
i
m
whe
r
ehec
l
a
i
me
d“
r
e
c
e
i
vi
ngme
a
l
sc
ont
a
i
ni
ng‘
i
ns
uf
f
i
c
i
e
ntvi
t
a
mi
nst
opr
e
ve
ntde
g
e
ne
r
a
t
i
o
n
me
nt
a
l
l
yo
rphy
s
i
c
a
l
l
y
’
”
)
.
[189] Balla v. Idaho State Bd. of Corrections, 595 F. Supp. 1558, 1574-1575 (D. Idaho 1984)
[190] Id. at 1575.
[191] Paige M. Harrison and Allen J. Beck, Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2004, NCJ208801 p. 2 (Bureau of Justice Statistics Apr., 2005).
[192] See Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States and States, and for Puerto
Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2004, NST-EST2004-01 (U.S. Census Bureau Dec. 22, 2004).
[193] The Sentencing Project, Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in the United States (Apr. 2005),
at http://www.sentencingproject.org/pdfs/1046.pdf.
[194] Id.
[195] Id.
[196] See James E. Robertson, Cruel and Unusual Punishment in United States Prisons: Sexual
Harassment Among Male Inmates, 36 AM. CRIM. L. REV. 1 n.61 (Winter 1999).
[197] Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2002, P20-552, p.6 (U.S. Census
Bureau July, 2004).
[198] Id.
[199] FRIEDMAN, supra note 15, at 61.
[200] Daniel J. Sharfstein, European Courts, American Rights: Extradition and Prison
Conditions, 67 Brooklyn L. Rev. 719, 764 (Spring, 2002). Sharfstein cited Bureau of Justice
St
a
t
i
s
t
i
c
st
h
a
ts
howe
d,“
byy
e
a
re
nd1
998,s
t
a
t
epr
isons were operating at between thirteen and
twenty-two percent over-capacity, while federal prisons were twenty-seven percent above
c
a
pa
c
i
t
y
.
”Id., n.154 (citing Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dep't of Justice, Prison Statistics, at
http://www.ojp.us-doj.gov/bjs/prisons.htm (revised Apr. 20, 2000); U.S. Dep't of State, Initial
Report of the United States of America to the U.N. Committee Against Torture (Oct. 15, 1999), at
http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/-torture_articles.html).
[201] Patrick Howe, Cash-Hungry States Cutting Prison Fare, SEATTLE TIMES, May 14,
2003, at A6, available at 2003 WLNR 2401627.

[202] Id.
[203] Id.
[204] See generally Harry Simon, Towns Without Pity: A Constitutional and Historical Analysis
of Official Efforts to Drive Homeless Persons from American Cities, 66 TUL. L. REV. 631, 635641 (Mar. 1992).
[205] Allen Beck and Paige Harrison, Number of persons in custody of State correctional
authorities by most serious offense, 1980-2001, at
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/tables/corrtyptab.htm (Bureau of Justice Statistics 2003).
[206] See Bernard E. Harcourt, Reflecting on the Subject: A Critique of the Social Influence
Conception of Deterrence, the Broken Windows Theory, and Order-Maintenance Policing New
York Style, 97 MICH. L. REV. 291,n.311(
“
Af
t
e
ra
l
l
,c
r
i
mi
na
l
sc
ont
i
nuet
obe
,t
oda
y
,ac
l
a
s
sof
pe
opl
et
ha
tma
nyf
e
e
le
nt
i
t
l
e
dt
oha
t
ea
nde
xc
l
ude
.
”
)(
c
i
t
i
ngKATHLYN TAYLOR GAUBATZ,
CRIME IN THE PUBLIC MIND (1995) (empirical data regarding public opinion about criminal
justice)).
[207] See Rothman, supra not
e59,a
t125(
“
TheJ
a
c
ks
oni
a
nr
e
f
or
me
r
sha
dpr
e
s
ume
dt
ha
ti
nma
t
e
s
woul
dnotbeha
r
de
ne
dc
r
i
mi
na
l
sbut‘
g
oodboy
sgoneba
d’
.
.
.
”
)
.
[208] ROTHMAN, supra note 88, at 254-255.
[209] Id.
[210] See id.
[211] Harrison and Beck, supra note 191, at 11.
[212] Id.
[213] Population by Race and Hispanic or Latino Origin for the United States: 1990 and 2000,
Census 2000 PHC-T-1 (U.S. Census Bureau 2001).
[214] Id.
[215] Harrison and Beck, supra note 191, at 11.
[216] Id.
[217] The Sentencing Project, Facts About Prison and Prisoners (Nov. 2004), at
http://www.sentencingproject.org/pdfs/1035.pdf.
[218] RANDALL KENNEDY, RACE, CRIME, AND THE LAW 4 (1997).

[219] See Paul Butler, Racially Based Jury Nullification: Black Power in the Criminal Justice
System, 105 YALE L.J. 677, 715 (Dec. 1995).
[220] See Paul J. Silvia, Joshua S. Graham, and Chasidy N. Hawley, Changing Attitudes Toward
Prison Reform: Effects of Similarity to Prisoners on Attraction and Rejection, 35 J. OF
APPLIED SOC. PSYCHOLOGY 248, 249 (2005).
[221] Id.
[222] Id.
[223] See Henri Tajfel, Experiments in Intergroup Discrimination, 223 Scientific American 96
(1970).
[224] See Silvia, Graham, and Hawley, supra note 220, at 250.
[225] Id.
[226] Id. (citing D.W. Novak and M.J. Lerner, Rejection as a consequence of perceived
similarity, 9 J. OF PERSONALITY AND SOC. PSYCHOLOGY 147 (1968)).
[227] See note 202, supra.
[228] See Silvia, Graham, and Hawley, supra note 220.
[229] See, e.g., Maria Alicia Gaura and Dave Murphy, We
ndy
’
sDi
ne
rFi
ndsHumanFi
nge
ri
n
Her Chili, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, Mar. 24, 2005, at A1, available at 2005 WLNR
4614071. Note that her story has since been called into question, and she has been arrested and
accused of concocting the story in an attempt to get money from the franchise. See, e.g., Matt
Richtel and Alexei Barrionuevo, Finger in Chili Is Called Hoax; Las Vegas Woman Is Charged,
NEW YORK TIMES, Apr. 23, 2005, at A9, available at 2005 WLNR 6340771.
[230] Search conducted on May 2, 2005, using the search string: Wendy
’
s&Fi
nge
r&Chi
l
i
.
[231] Matt Leingang, Wendy's Reports Earnings Decline Fast-Food Chain Hurt By Claim of
Finger in Chili, Bad Weather, AKRON BEACON J., April 29, 2005, at D1, available at 2005
WLNR 6700595.
[232] See, e.g., Mary F. Pols and Dave Birkland, Mukilteo Teen Admits Pepsi Hoax, SEATTLE
TIMES, June 17, 1993, at A1, available at 1993 WLNR 1130466.
[233] See note 57, supra.
[234] The Filled Milk Act, made famous by the Carolene Products case and its footnote 4,
forbids adding any kind of fat to milk but milk-fat. 21 U.S.C. §§ 61-64 (1923).

[235] See Oleomargarine Act, Pub. L. No. 81-459, 64 Stat. 20 (1950)
[236] See Saccharin Study and Labeling Act, Pub. L. No. 95-203, 91 Stat. 1451 (1977). I also
mentioned this statute at n.54, supra.
[237] See Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 333.
[238] See id. at § 334.
[239] See Mindy H. Chapman, Comment, Rx: Just What the Doctor Ordered: International
Standards for Medical Devices, 14 NW. J. INT'L L. & BUS. 566, n.41 (1994).
[240] Alan L. Hoeting, TheFDA’
sEnf
or
c
e
me
ntPr
ogr
am, 47 FOOD & DRUG L.J. 405, 407
(1992).
[241] See id. at 405, 408.
[242] See note 169, supra, discussing effects of overcrowding on sanitation. Overcrowding is
necessarily linked to underfunding, as it only occurs when there is no money allocated to the
building or maintenance of new prisons.
[243] Telephone Interview with John Rogers, Associate Director of Food Services, Rhode Island
Department of Corrections (Mar. 25, 2005).
[244] Note that there are accreditation organizations (discussed below), but these are not
g
ove
r
nme
n
tr
un,a
nds
odon’
tg
r
a
ntl
i
c
e
ns
e
s
.The
yc
a
nnotbe
,f
ort
her
e
a
s
onsdi
s
c
us
s
e
d.
[245] See Developments in the Law: The Law of Prisons, supra note 148, at 1870.
[246] See id.
[247] Pozen, supra note 147, at 256.
[248] See Amie Streater, Commissioners Accept Aramark's Resignation, FORT WORTH STAR
TELEGRAM, Mar. 10, 2004, at B2, available at 2004 WLNR 1811717 (Detailing resignation of
food services firm after poor food, spoiled food, and food shortages nearly led to riots).
[249] Kelly Blevins, FDA’
sUs
eofNe
g
at
i
v
ePubl
i
c
i
t
yasanEnf
or
c
e
me
ntMe
c
hani
s
m, FOOD
AND DRUG LAW: AN ELECTRONIC BOOK OF STUDENT PAPERS, at
http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/hutt/table_of_contents_2002.html.
[250] See note 160, supra, and accompanying text.
[251] Hoeting, supra note 240, at 407.

[252] See AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION TASK FORCE ON
CORRECTIONAL HEALTH CARE STANDARDS, STANDARDS FOR HEALTH
SERVICES IN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS 53, 96 (2003).
[253] See AMERICAN CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION AND COMMISSION ON
ACCREDITATION FOR CORRECTIONS, PERFORMANCE-BASED STANDARDS FOR
CORRECTIONAL HEALTH CARE IN ADULT CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS (2002).
Other relevant organizations producing model standards include the National Advisory
Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals, the American Law Institute, the United
Nations, and the American Bar Association. MUSHLIN, supra note 150 at § 2:2.
[254] See AMERICAN CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION AND COMMISSION ON
ACCREDITATION FOR CORRECTIONS, STANDARDS FOR JUVENILE
CORRECTIONAL BOOT CAMP PROGRAMS (1995).
[255] See AMERICAN CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION, STANDARDS FOR
CORRECTIONAL INDUSTRIES (1981).
[256] Telephone Interview with John Rogers, Associate Director of Food Services, Rhode Island
Department of Corrections (Mar. 25, 2005).
[257] Id.
[258] Interview with Albert Bucci, Assistant to the Director, Rhode Island Department of
Cor
r
e
c
t
i
on
s
,
i
nCr
a
ns
t
on,R.
I
.(
Apr
.11,2003)
.He
a
l
t
hi
ns
pe
c
t
i
onswi
l
lg
i
ve“
f
i
x-i
t
”or
de
r
so
f
s
e
ve
r
i
t
yA,B,C,orD.“
A”or
de
r
snot
et
hene
e
df
orami
norr
e
pa
i
r
.“
B”or
de
r
sa
r
es
l
i
g
ht
l
ymor
e
ur
ge
nt
,buta
r
es
t
i
l
lr
e
l
a
t
i
ve
l
ymi
nor
.“
C”or
de
r
sr
e
qui
r
er
e
pa
i
r
st
obema
debe
f
or
eas
pe
c
i
f
i
e
d
de
a
dl
i
ne
.“
D”or
de
r
sa
r
ef
ors
e
r
i
oushe
a
l
t
hha
z
a
r
ds
,r
e
qui
r
i
ngi
mme
di
a
t
er
e
pa
i
r
.
[259] See generally AMERICAN CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION AND COMMISSION
ON ACCREDITATION FOR CORRECTIONS, supra note 253, at xiv-xix.
[260] See id. at xvii, xviii.
[261] See id. at xvii.
[262] See id. at xix.
[263] Id. at xiv.
[264] AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION TASK FORCE ON CORRECTIONAL
HEALTH CARE STANDARDS, supra note 252, at xvii.
[265] AMERICAN CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION AND COMMISSION ON
ACCREDITATION FOR CORRECTIONS, supra note 253, at xiv.

[266] For a large list of closures in the Los Angeles area alone, see Los Angeles Department of
Health Services, Food Facility Closure List, at
http://www.lapublichealth.org/phcommon/public/eh/closure/restall1.cfm (listing
331 closures for the period from 1/22/2005 through 4/22/2005).
[267] Note that accreditation does offer benefits in litigation, but this requires the court oversight
we have in place. Accreditation on its own does not have similar benefits. More on this will be
discussed below.
[268] Telephone Interview with John Rogers, Associate Director of Food Services, Rhode Island
Department of Corrections (Mar. 25, 2005).
[269] Interview with A.T. Wall, Director, Rhode Island Department of Corrections, in Cranston,
R.I. (Apr. 11, 2003).
[270] Telephone Interview with John Rogers, Associate Director of Food Services, Rhode Island
Department of Corrections (Mar. 25, 2005).
[271] To see research I have done on this prison system in particular (composed largely of
interviews with staff, some of which have been used here), see Cyrus Naim, After Palmigiano
(2003) (Unpublished manuscript, available on request).
[272] Jonathan D. Rosenbloom, Exploring Methods To Improve Management And Fairness In
Pro Se Cases: A Study Of The Pro Se Docket In The Southern District Of New York, 30
FORDHAM URB. L.J. 305, 326 (2002).
[273] Id. at 310 (citing both his own study, at n.40, and Lois Bloom & Helen Hershkoff, Federal
Courts, Magistrate Judges, and the Pro Se Plaintiff, 16 NOTRE DAME J. L. ETHICS & PUB.
POL'Y 475, 479 (2002)).
[274] See generally LEO CARROLL, LAWFUL ORDER (1998) (detailing history of
Palmigiano v. Garrahy, Nos. 74-172 and 75-032 (D.R.I.)).
[275] See Hon. Jon O. Newman, Pro Se Prisoner Litigation: Looking for Needles in Haystacks,
62 BROOK. L. REV. 519(
1996)(
“
Pr
i
s
one
rl
a
ws
ui
t
sc
ha
l
l
e
ng
i
ngpr
i
s
onc
ondi
t
i
onss
ha
r
et
wo
characteristics. Nearly all of these lawsuits are filed pro se, and the vast majority are dismissed as
f
r
i
vol
ous
.
”
)
;Eug
e
neJ
.Kuz
i
ns
ki
,Not
e
,The End of the Prison Law Firm?: Frivolous Inmate
Litigation, Judicial Oversight, and the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, 29 RUTGERS L.J.
361, 364 (1998).
[276] See Schlanger, supra not
e142,
a
t1558(
“
I
n1995,i
nma
t
e
sf
i
l
e
dne
a
r
l
y40,
000ne
wf
e
de
r
a
l
civil lawsuits—nineteen percent of the federal civil docket. About fifteen percent of the federal
c
i
vi
lt
r
i
a
l
she
l
dt
ha
ty
e
a
rwe
r
ei
ni
nma
t
ec
i
vi
lr
i
g
ht
sc
a
s
e
s
.
”
)Sc
hl
a
ng
e
rg
oe
sonto note that this
number has dropped by 40% since the passage of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, discussed

later in this paper. Id. A reduction to over 20,000 federal lawsuits, however, leaves a very large
number still.
[277] Gabel v. Lynaugh, 835 F.2d 124, n.1 (5th Cir. 1988).
[278] Newman, supra no
t
e275,a
t520(
“
La
bor
i
ngunde
rt
hebur
de
nsof having to respond to
thousands of lawsuits, most of which are frivolous, the attorneys general of the states adopted the
t
a
c
t
i
cofc
onde
mni
nga
l
lpr
i
s
one
rl
i
t
i
g
a
t
i
ona
sf
r
i
vol
ous
.
”
)
[279] Adam Slutsky, Note, Totally Exhausted: Why a Strict Interpretation of 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(A) Unduly Burdens Courts and Prisoners, 73 Fordham L. Rev. 2289, 2295-2296 (2005).
[280] Newman, supra note 275, at 521. Newman goes on to discuss two other cases where,
though the claim was not for a life and death matter, it was nevertheless a legitimate complaint.
[281] Theodore Eisenberg, Section 1983: Doctrinal Foundations and an Empirical Study, 67
Cornell L. Rev. 482, 544-545 (1982).
[282] See Kuzinski, supra note 275, at 364.
[283] See Theodore Eisenberg, Litigation Models and Trial Outcomes in Civil Rights and
Prisoner Cases, 77 GEO. L.J. 1567, 1587 (1989).
[284] See id.
[285] Cotner v. Campbell, 618 F. Supp. 1091, 1095 (1985).
[286] See AMERICAN CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION AND COMMISSION ON
ACCREDITATION FOR CORRECTIONS, supra note 253, at 49. See also William J. Rich,
Prison Conditions and Criminal Sentencing in Kansas: A Public Policy Dialogue, 11 Kan. J.L. &
Pub. Pol'y 693, 706 (2002) (
“
Wi
t
houte
xpe
r
t
s
,l
a
wy
e
r
sa
ndi
nma
t
e
swi
l
lnotbea
bl
et
ode
t
e
r
mi
ne
whether leftover food has been stored at temperatures that meet minimum health and safety
s
t
a
nda
r
ds
,
l
e
ta
l
onee
va
l
ua
t
et
hea
de
qua
c
yofme
di
c
a
la
ndme
nt
a
lhe
a
l
t
hc
a
r
e
.
”
)
.
[287] See Donald L. Horowitz, Decreeing Organizational Change: Judicial Supervision of
Public Institutions,1983DukeL.
J
.1265,1287(
1983)(
“
[
I
]
ns
t
i
t
ut
i
ona
lf
i
na
nc
i
nga
nd
administration are subjects with which few judges have more than a passing familiarity. Yet,
when litigation exposes constitutional violations in public institutions a court of equity must take
s
t
e
pst
oe
l
i
mi
na
t
et
he
m.
”
)
.
[288] See notes 189 and 190, supra, and accompanying text.
[289] MUSHLIN, supra note 150 at § 2:2 (citing Rhem v. Malcolm, 371 F. Supp. 594, 627
(S.D.N.Y 1974)).
[290] Id. (citing Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 543-44 n.27 (1979).

[291] See notes 150-157, supra, and accompanying text.
[292] See notes 187-190, supra, and accompanying text.
[293] See notes 189 and 190, supra, and accompanying text.
[294] See also Note, Complex Enforcement: Unconstitutional Prison Conditions, 94 HARV. L.
REV. 626 (
1981)(
ma
ki
ngs
a
medi
s
t
i
n
c
t
i
onbe
t
we
e
n“
di
s
c
r
e
t
ea
dj
udi
c
a
t
i
on”a
nd“
c
ompl
e
x
e
nf
or
c
e
me
nt
”
)
.
[295] See, e.g., Jackson v. Bishop, 404 F.2d 571 (8th Cir. 1968) (banning use of strap to punish
inmates).
[296] See, e.g., Johnson v. Lark, 365 F. Supp 289 (D.C. Mo. 1979) (court order requiring, e.g.,
provision of soap and cleaning equipment to inmates, limiting number of inmates per cell to two,
creating proper disciplinary procedure, etc.)
[297] See, e.g., Palmigiano v. Garrahy, 443 F. Supp. 956, 961 (D.R.I. 1977). C.f. Complex
Enforcement: Unconstitutional Prison Conditions, supra note 294, at 630 (finding same
tendency toward complex enforcement in cases involving inmate health and safety).
[298] Kuzinski, supra note 275, at 371.
[299] But see William C. Collins, Bumps in the Road to the Courthouse: The Supreme Court and
the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 24 PaceL.Re
v.651,673(
2004)(
“
ThePLRAa
t
t
e
mpt
st
ol
i
mi
t
the scope of both court orders and consent decrees but it is not clear to me what practical effects
these provisions have on relief orders. I am aware of at least one settlement in which the parties
and the judge both appeared to simply ignore the relief-powe
rl
i
mi
t
a
t
i
onsoft
heAc
t
.
”
)
.
[300] See generally Schlanger, supra note 142.
[301] See, e.g., Los Angeles Environmental Health, Establishment Rating List, at
http://www.lapublichealth.org/rating/ for an example of internet posting of ratings. Los Angeles
also requires the posting of ratings i
nt
her
e
s
t
a
ur
a
nt
’
sf
r
ontwi
ndow.See Santa Clara County;
County to Finalize Grading System For Restaurants, S.F. CHRON., Nov. 10, 1999, at A19.
[302] Surprisingly, there is caselaw on this topic. See MUSHLIN, supra note 150, at § 2:10
(citing Bijeol v. Nelson, 579 F.2d 423 (7th Cir. 1978).
[303] Id.
[304] Id.
[305] See id. (citing Robbins v. South, 595 F. Supp. 785 (D. Mont. 1984); Rutherford v. Pitchess,
457 F. Supp. 104 (C.D. Cal. 1978)).

[306] See also Michel Rosenfeld, Constitutional Adjudication in Europe and the United States:
Paradoxes and Contrasts, 2 INT'L J. CONST. L. 633,648(
2004)(
“
Tobes
ur
e, constitutional
pr
ovi
s
i
onsa
r
e
,f
ort
hemos
tpa
r
t
,mor
eg
e
ne
r
a
la
ndva
g
ue
rt
ha
ns
t
a
t
ut
or
ypr
ovi
s
i
ons
.
”
)
.
[307] See, e.g., Travis v. Lockhart, 607 F. Supp. 1083 (E.D. Ark. 1985) (Handling of mail from
media).
[308] See, e.g., Moore v. Janing, 427 F. Supp. 567 (D. Neb. 1976)(private facilities for attorney
conferences).
[309] See, e.g., Martin v. Ellandson, 122 F. Supp. 2d 1017 (S.D. Iowa 2000).
[310] See, e.g., Teterud v. Gillman, 385 F. Supp. 153 (S.D. Iowa 1974) (hair length restrictions
infringing on religion).
[311] Telephone Interview with John Rogers, Associate Director of Food Services, Rhode Island
Department of Corrections (Mar. 25, 2005).
[312] For a short time, the Rhode Island prison system offered such prepackaged kosher meals,
because it housed very few Jews. It had to reverse course however, given the relative expense of
such meals (approx. $4), when a large number of inmates began requesting them. Id.
[313] Jonathan M. Wilan, Regulation of Prison Food, n.58, FOOD AND DRUG LAW: AN
ELECTRONIC BOOK OF STUDENT PAPERS, at
http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/hutt/table_of_contents_2002.html.
[314] MUSHLIN, supra note 150 at § 2:10 (citing JOHN BOSTON AND DANIELLE E.
MANVI
LLE,PRI
SONER’
SSELFHELPLI
TI
GATI
ONMANUAL34 (1995)).
[315] Id. (citing Cooper v. Sheriff, Lubbock Cty., Tex., 929 F.2d 1078 (5th Cir. 1991)). Note that
in another case, where a rule was applied so that an inmate missed 50 meals over a five month
period, this was not found to implicate the Eighth Amendment, because the deprivation was not
severe. Id. (citing Talib v. Gilley, 138 F.3d 211 (5th Cir. 1998)).
[316] Id. (citing Cunningham v. Jones, 567 F.2d 653 (6th Cir. 1977)).
[317] Id.

 

 

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