Did you know that Bernie Madoff, the man behind the largest investor fraud scheme in history, is still swindling from behind bars? This time, taxpayers are shelling out major bucks so that Bernie Madoff and other prisoners can receive kosher meals in federal jail upon request. Kosher meals for prisoners cost the law-abiding population big time; this service requires having kosher cooks and a separate kosher kitchen at facilities with inmates who are, purportedly, religious. Perhaps these miscreants should have contemplated their religious creeds, morals, and special dietary needs before committing federal crimes.
When Ira Black, the guitarist for the popular metal band Lizzy Borden, was sentenced to prison in Los Angeles for a misdemeanor, he went on a hunger strike because he has been a vegan for fifteen years. Most prisons do not offer special meals for vegans or vegetarians and Ira Black refused to eat the heavy meat and dairy diet that was provided during his incarceration. Whereas self-declared religious felons demand and receive more costly kosher meals that must be prepared separately in a publicly funded kitchen, vegans are expected to give up their principles and consume animal derived products while serving time.
The truth is that it is inefficient and discriminatory for dietary exceptions to be made for prisoners regardless of the reason. All inmates should be treated equally. We should be serving cost-efficient and eco-friendly meals to all prisoners. After all, why should society pay the extra costs of catering to specific felons? Prisoners should be offered nutritionally sound meals that do not cost taxpayers an arm and a leg. If you break the law, you should be aware that there is one set meal plan for all inmates regardless of religion, credo, or principle.
A vegan menu should be the only option available in prison. What???! Didn't this article just argue that all prisoners should be treated equally? Why should Ira Black's vegan diet be served while Bernie Madoff's kosher requests go ignored? The answer is simple. The decision to serve vegan meals in prison is one that is based on the best interests of society as a whole rather than the wishes of individual prisoners. The most fiscally and environmentally responsible diet to give prisoners is one devoid of animal products. Here are a few reasons why an exclusively vegan meal plan in prisons would positively impact society as a whole:
- Plant-based vegan ingredients like beans are more affordable than meat products, especially when purchased in bulk.
- Mandatory vegan meal plan in prisons will improve the environment by decreasing demand for products from the meat and dairy industries, which are responsible for 18% of the Earth's greenhouse gas emissions.
- There was a trial program implemented at the Victor Valley Medium Correctional Facility in Adelanto, California which found that violence dropped significantly among inmates who were switched to a vegan diet.
- An increased demand for vegan meals reduces violence against animals by the meat and dairy industries.
- According to the American Dietetic Association, vegans and vegetarians are less prone to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity than meat-eaters. Switching prisoners to a plant-based meal plan will save the prison system a great deal of money on prisoners' long term medical care costs. This is, of course, good news for taxpayers.
- Should we really be serving the body parts of once-living creature to inmates who are supposed to be contemplating the distinction between what is right and what is wrong? To serve the victims of mankind's ongoing animal genocide to the likes of Christopher Lee McCuin and Timothy Wayne Shepard seems particularly twisted.
Although prisons are unlikely to adopt an exclusively vegan menu right now, this change is probable in the future. As the environment continues to deteriorate and as taxpayers become increasingly irate over excess spending in prison facilities, mandatory veganism for inmates may ultimately be enacted.