Food, glorious food?
If you’re interested in the realities of prison life, then HM Inspectorate of Prisons “findings” series is a must-read. Earlier this year, I covered their reports on money in prison and contact with families and friends. Today, I’m turning my attention to their latest (7 September 2016) report: Life in Prison: Food.
The basic approach of the “findings” reports is for the inspectorate to use the data gathered in dozens of different inspections to explore how prisons measure up to official expectations around these cornerstones of prison life.
The introduction to the report sets the context for inspectors’ examination of food in prison:
Food plays a crucial role in our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Much of human social interaction is centred on food, and we use food choices and eating habits to construct our gender, ethnic, cultural and personal identities.
Food also represents an opportunity to indulge, communicate affection, and to experience religion and tradition. In prison, mealtimes are a focal point of the day. They break up the monotony of daily life in custody, and provide opportunities for association with others.
The majority of what prisoners eat in prison is determined for them. Unlike in the community, prisoners do not have the freedom to decide what or how much they want to eat, nor are they able to choose when they eat the majority of their meals.
I created the infographic below to share some of HMIP’s most interesting revelations: