It sounds like something off the table of a ’70s vegetarian potluck. Nutraloaf is made from cubed whole wheat bread, nondairy cheese, raw carrots, spinach, seedless raisins, beans, vegetable oil, tomato paste, powdered milk, and dehydrated potato flakes. It is served to prison inmates. According to an AP article, “Prison officials call it a complete meal. Inmates say it’s so awful they’d rather go hungry.” In fact, the inmates are suing over nutraloaf.

This week the Vermont Supreme Court hears arguments by inmates who claim the meal is punishment and should require a formal disciplinary process. The dish is indeed used to discipline inmates. “It tends to have the desired outcome,” said the state’s corrections commissioner. “Once the offender relents, we stop with the nutraloaf. That’s our goal, to protect our staff.”

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