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Frequency of use

The popularity of Nutraloaf among prison officials also differs from state to state. Vermont uses it about once a month.225 New York managed to serve it to over eight hundred inmates in 2008.226 Brian Hauswirth, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections, recently estimated that his state was using Nutraloaf in “under 100” current cases.227 In contrast, West Virginia prison administrator John McKay can only recall serving it once in his twenty-five years on the job.228

Another factor to consider is how long an individual prisoner stays on Nutraloaf after the decision is made. Some states, including Florida229 and Maryland,230 typically employ Nutraloaf for seven days at a time. New York’s applications are less defined, ranging from a few days to weeks on end.231 One New York inmate ate Nutraloaf for a hundred days.232

Several prison officials contacted for this Note were hesitant to discuss Nutraloaf at all, apparently due to recent negative attention from mainstream media. One exception was Jay Jackson, the food program manager for the Washington State Department of Corrections. Jackson, who has never served Nutraloaf, pointed out that its popularity in some jurisdictions may be partially due to the cost of the ingredients.233 “Beans are very inexpensive,” he explained, and food suppliers have been adding fuel surcharges in recent years.234 If Jackson’s intuition is correct, prisoners may be facing more Nutraloaf in the wake of the economic recession of 2008 and 2009.

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