Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6¼ x 9½
978-1-4422-5347-6 • Hardback • December 2016 • $50.00 • (£38.00)
978-1-4422-5348-3 • eBook • December 2016 • $47.00 • (£34.00)
Erika Camplin is a food studies scholar and has published works at Huffington Post, Food52.com, and other outlets.
Camplin, a food studies scholar, zeroes in on a key factor of life for the incarcerated: prison fare. In the federal, state, and local systems, the United States regularly houses approximately 2 million inmates, which results in the need to provide 13 billion meals annually, according to Camplin. She investigates what prisoners eat, who is providing and preparing the food, and the quality of the meals. She provides a short history of prison food dating back to medieval England, where prisoners provided their own food or starved; prison reform in the 18th century began to acknowledge the need to feed prisoners decently. She also covers the business of food service in prison, exploring links between cost and corrupt business practices of food distributors. Getting quality food for prisoners is a continuous uphill struggle as shown by scandals like the many grievances filed against Aramark, a private food contractor, who was said to be pocketing millions of dollars for serving substandard food. The search for good food has even resulted in prisoners converting to Judaism to be eligible for kosher meals. Five pages of menus are included, as are recipes for infamous food such as 'Nutraloaf,' which is served to misbehaving inmates as a form of punishment. The food preferences of famous prisoners such as Bernie Madoff and Lil Wayne provide amusing moments. This succinct and academic overview of a quirky subject is very readable and comes with lengthy notes.
— Publishers Weekly