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Somerset County Jail To Use Food as Punishment

Effective as of this week, inmates at Somerset County Jail who throw food or trays at other inmates or staff will be given a special meal as punishment – food loaf. Recipes for food loaf vary, but it's generally a mixture of ingredients including vegetables, cheese, beans, powdered milk, and other things. The recipes available online don't seem too bad, but the main purpose of food loaf isn't to be disgusting, but rather very bland.

"If you're getting food loaf for three meals a day it's going to deter your behavior," said Warden Gregory Briggs, "the food that you are eating isn't going to seem too bad, is the best way to put it. It's bland, it has some taste to it, but I wouldn't want to eat it every day."

Food loaf meets the calorie intake required of jail food, it's served without utensils and generally on a piece of paper rather than a plate. It's used in other jails throughout the U.S. Inmates in other states have filed lawsuits against the extended use of food loaf, but federal courts have upheld the practice.

No food loaf has been served at Somerset County Jail at this point. Briggs said the hope is that it won't be used too often.

"I've been here eight months, there's been one incident of someone throwing their food, which is what started this" he said, "I don't want it to happen again, this is more of a reactionary measure so it doesn't happen again."

Special Management Meal
Yield - Three Loaves

• 6 slices whole wheat bread, finely chopped
• 4 ounces imitation cheddar cheese, finely grated
• 4 ounces raw carrots, finely grated
• 12 ounces spinach, canned, drained
• 2 cups dried Great Northern Beans, soaked,
cooked and drained
• 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 6 ounces potato flakes, dehydrated
• 6 ounces tomato paste
• 8 ounces powdered skim milk
• 4 ounces raisins

Mix all ingredients in a 12-quart mixing bowl. Make sure all wet items are drained. Mix until stiff, just moist enough to spread. Form three loaves in glazed bread pans. Place loaf pans in the oven on a sheet pan filled with water, to keep the bottom of the loaves from burning. Bake at 325 degrees in a convection oven for approximately 45 minutes. The loaf will start to pull away from the sides of the bread pan when done.