Intereting findings re: violence
Here's a summary of an interesting study of prisoners, which found that when they were fed the right nutrients in-prison violence declined by 37%. Apart from suggesting a rather strong link between nutrition and violence, it would also suggest that jails might be a bit more placid if they actually fed people (a baloney sandwich and a small bag of chips is customary lunch in most of them).
Theodore Dalrymple wrote about this earlier; I can't tell from my brief glimpse over the article whether he's referring to the same study or an earlier one.
Posted by: Kirk Parker at October 18, 2006 10:16 PM
I can believe that. I was once arrested when I was a dumb teenager in the 60's and spent 3 weeks in a small southern county jail. I shared a cell with a guy that had been convicted of 2 murders and was back in the county jail to be tried for a third murder. Nice guy if you didn't cross him, needless to say I tried to get along with him.
We got 2 meals a day. Breakfast was a splat of dried grits with a little bit of cornflakes poured over it. Dinner was a splat of rice with a little corn or peas poured over it. You got used to the bugs when you got hungry enough. I can believe better food would give you a better behaved jail population for sure.
Posted by: Dave at October 19, 2006 10:17 AM
Another effect of diet is cholesterol. High cholesterol is associated with lower violence, depression, suicide, mental illness, a host of mental ills. We might want to try feeding lots of eggs and bacon to prisoners.
Might also explain why health nuts and vegetarians always seem so stressed out.
Posted by: Tom Bri at October 19, 2006 02:42 PM
Weightlifting equipment should be removed from prisons. It only makes the criminals stronger. At most, prisoners should be allowed to do aerobics.
Posted by: Alcibiades at October 20, 2006 01:14 AM
Seems to me that I read that Alcatraz used to overfeed and underexercise the GP (obviously, solitary, etc, were special cases) deliberately. They felt that an overweight and out-of-shape convict was a lot easier to handle.
It probably wasn't today's idea of nutricious, since it was heavy on the "mashed potatoes and gravy" items.
Posted by: bud at October 23, 2006 12:56 PM