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

Related Links
Venus and Serena Williams Going Vegan
Vegan Diet Used by Boxers


Vincent T
Vincent T1 months ago


Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

DaleLovesOttawa O.

That is a unique perspective Luke T, but I don't think that prisons (even the For Profit prisons) have quite yet reached the stage of promoting induced cannibalism.
Karen C, your link does not work, all it does is give me the link to this article...but I am referring to pastured-raised, not factory farmed meat or the large conglomerates that are pretending to be 'organic.'

Spoiler alert, I don't believe anything with the veganSpeak word 'carnist' in it as a source scientifically speaking. Karen, why would we be worried about a website where you are no longer permitted to comment on, with no source for verification, regarding some other person's comment that you disagreed with... what does it have to do with what is on this thread? Another site is not what is being discussed here. However, given the violence in a more vegetarian friendly country like India, there is still violence there, so eating veggies does not end violence. You would have to do a comparative research of a number of prisons and their diets to get a satisfactory study.

Luke T.
Louise T3 years ago

Prisoners should be fed each other as in Soylent Green.

Karen Call
Karen Call3 years ago


Debunking the organic vs. factory-farmed meat health differences (spoiler alert: they're virtually the same):

Karen Call
Karen Call3 years ago

Actually Dale,

Their is huge evidence that it was the diet change that made the difference.

One might say the bible study added in conjunction to the meal plan was the changing factor: however, this would be ignoring the fact that prisoners can also choose bible study separately if they wanted.

Also, most prisons already have "anger management" groups/classes and job training.

I want to address a piss-poor comment someone made on another archived website where I was not allowed to comment anymore.

The guy said:

"I'd bet the reason for the low recidivism rate has more to do with the type of inmates the facility accepted than with the vegan diet. From here, the rules for acceptance to the facility were:
1-27 points
30 day to 18 months to serve
no violent felonies
no felony holds
no life sentences within the last 20 years
no large scale drug sales
no arson convictions
no predator sexual behavior while in CDC
no SHU term within last last 6 months
no division A B or C RVRs
no vailidate prison gang membership
no high notoriety
no ongoing medical needs
no escapes with force or from a secure perimeter
The statistics should be measured against those kinds of prisoners in the prison system. Not the general prison population."


His source was from a FORUM, and there was no source linked to from that forum. Not any official website. It was made up.

Yet, nobody bothered to actually go to his source, and took him at face value. They jump

Damien H.
Damien H.4 years ago

Where is the actual study?

Elisa F.
Elisa F4 years ago

So interesting! Thanks for sharing.

Heidi H.
Past Member 5 years ago

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