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Vegan Diet Helped Prisoners

Vegan Diet Helped Prisoners

Until recently prisoners at Victor Valley Medium Community Correctional Facility in Adelanto, California could choose vegan meals under a program called NewStart which also included Bible study, job training and anger management. According to one source, violence decreased significantly for those inmates who chose the vegan meal plan and the behavioral program.

Also the recidivism rate, (rate of re-arrest) for their released inmates was only two percent, but the state average in California is over 90 percent, according to another source.

Victor Valley nutrition services coordinator Julianne Aranda has been quoted on the main reasons why they offered a plant-based menu option for inmates, saying, “what we eat not only affects us physically, but it affects our mental attitude, our aggressiveness and our ability to make good decisions.”  (Source: Vegetarian Spotlight)

At first, state officials assumed none or very few of the prisoners would choose the plant-based diet and training provided by the NewStart program. However, 85 percent did select the alternative diet and they participated in the learning opportunities.

Those who participated and did not eat meat reportedly underwent significant attitude changes, so much so they no longer identified with racial groups, which previously caused tension, and they actually played basketball together in the common space instead of remaining apart from one another.

An Indian news site published a quote for a California official indicating positive inmate changes: “there is a noticeable difference in the personalities of the vegetarian inmates. They smile more, are fully racially integrated, attend religious classes and anger management classes eagerly. Within 10 days, the vegan inmates express improvement in how they feel.” (Source: Deccan Chronicle)

Apparently the NewStart program was dropped though, due to some administrative conflict which forced the prison leaders to end it over the handling of phone revenues.

A documentary about the NewStart program was made, and you can see a Web video here.

Image Credit: Zeetz Jones / Creative Commons

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Read more: Conscious Consumer, Diet & Nutrition, Health, News & Issues, Vegan

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83 comments

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11:41PM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

So interesting! Thanks for sharing.

11:55PM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Change your diet and your point of focus and change your life and the the world. What a wonderful idea.

2:58AM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Thank you

6:46AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

good to hear

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Given the fact that this program was combined with behaviour modification and other training there is not really much evidence that no meat produced resulted in less aggressive behaviour. Behaviour modification courses in themselves can produce results whether one eats meat or not.

Prison food for the most part is purchased on the cheap with GMO/factory farm cheap cuts laden with growth hormones and who knows what sludge...probably a lot of the veggies are genetically modified. (Some prisons have even given up on inmate farming their own veggies and truck in the more processed chemical laden veggies).

Prison diets for the most part are done cheaply with foods that are not exactly the cuisine one would want to eat at home. More foods produced on prison grounds without chemicals certainly would help but one cannot compare the sludge meat served in prison with anything healthy from meat raised organically.

9:12AM PDT on May 27, 2012

thank you

12:58PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

It's terrible they dropped it. They need this everywhere. If they did vegan in every prison in the US imagine the results! & It is certainly cheaper to cut out animal products.

11:50AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Not surprised!!!

8:15AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

most popular programs will be discontinued by government, businesses, TV programming, etc. - it is inevitable

4:20PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Mit, sorry - Hitler was not a true vegetarian. This is old propaganda that carnivores use to defend their food choices when arguing with plant-eaters. To learn the truth, please read this: http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/03/why-hitler-was-not-a-vegetarian.html

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