What Do You Eat in Jail: Federal Prison vs State Prison Food

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One of the most common questions that is usually thrown to the inmates is “What do you eat in jail?”. Contrary to what is shown on a lot of TV shows and movies, instead of eating poor quality food, the American prisoners within the Federal Bureau of Prisons are provided with three nutritionally sound meals every day.

Apparently, the meals for the prisoners in the general population are served in a dining room. Among the prisoners, this kind of room is known as Chow Hall. This room is the place where every general population inmate eats their food. This place has a big space with a serving bar and tables. It will always be the place to eat except if the prison is locked down or the prisoner is in intensive confinement such as a special management unit, special housing unit, and so on. When the Chow Hall is not closed due to some circumstances, the prisoners might get their meals delivered to them on a tray.

What Do You Eat in Jail Federal Prison vs State Prison Food

Talking about the meals for the prisoners, some people might think that they are not great. While it is true that they are not great, it is guaranteed that these meals have enough nutrition and can make the stomach full. In recent years, the Bureau of Prisons or BOP has reduced the funds for foods. However, the food that is served to the prisoners is still high quality. Most of them are served freshly and still hot from the oven. For breakfast, they usually have a Danish, cereal hot or cold, and milk. For the regular meals, they usually have chicken, hamburgers, hotdogs, burritos, lasagna, fish patties, tacos, and so on. Unlike in the morning when they can have milk, in the morning and at other times, they have water and a flavored drink. Not only the regular meal, there is also a self service salad bar area in most federal prisons where beans, peas, and some other foods are usually available during meal times.

What is prison food? Prison food is the kind of food that is made by prisoners assigned to the Food Service. All the prisoners are in charge of both cooking and serving the food. When doing their jobs, they are under the supervision of prison guards who know well about food service.

The sad news for the prisoners is that they do not have the right to choose the food that they are served. When they are in line, the ones who are in charge of serving the Food Service will place the same portions on every tray. Talking about the serving sizes, they are standardized for every meal. However, there is an exception, which is the thing that is placed on the salad bar. As for this one, it is self-serve.

For those who are wondering if it is possible for the prisoners to eat more than once if their stomach is still not full, the answer to the question is no. In this modern era, almost every federal prison has an ID card scanner in place. This kind of thing is usually used to ensure that every prisoner only eats once. While there is a small chance of the prisoners trying to eat more than once, if they are caught, they can be reported for stealing.

Not only the meals that are provided in the dining room, every federal prisoner is also able to purchase items from the prison commissary as long as they have funds in their trust fund accounts. Similarly, those who have money can also purchase with their storeman. In addition, they can also buy foods that are made and sold by the fellow prisoners, such as homemade pizzas, burritos, and so on. Even though these meals are made by prisoners, it is guaranteed that everything is safe and relatively healthy.

If a prisoner is dreaming of eating hamburgers from Burger Kings, they have to bury their thoughts as there is no way to do that. However, it is possible for them to eat hamburgers provided in the prison, even though the taste, the quality, and everything else are different. In hard times like this, even something simple should be appreciated and there is no time to whine.

Aside from “What do you eat in jail?” question, another question that is commonly asked by people to the inmates is if there are certain tables where the inmates should or should not sit at. In fact, federal prisoners are known to be very territorial, especially at medium and high security levels. The same thing applies to Chow Hall tables. Usually, there are some sections at these prisons. The tables in some sections are usually claimed by different groups or gangs. To prevent something bad from happening, it is better for these prisoners to sit only at the table that they have the right to sit and not to sit at the one that is already claimed by the others.

If a prisoner has no idea where to sit as they are considered new, they are recommended to ask their cellmate about the thing related to seating. If the cellmates are not helpful, the best thing that they can do is to talk to either the shot caller for the race or geographic region. Besides, they can also ask a friend who has been around for a while so that they can help them to determine which tablet they have to sit at.

If a new prisoner sits at the wrong table, they should just apologize. Actually, it is not enough as they should also give up on the table by getting up and finding another one to sit at. It is stated that the trick will work as most of the federal prisoners understand that newbies usually have no idea how the politics of seating works. Once again, as long as there is an apology and willing to move, there will be no issue.

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