According to TV, prison food always look like slop from a pig trough ladled into a bowl or plate. It’s the most lumpy looking goop you’ve ever seen. It’s something that you can’t imagine that people would ever eat, even if they were starving. However, prison food isn’t like that at all. At least not at the prison I attended in 2012.
The prison I attended was Herlong Federal Prison Camp in California. The food wasn’t too bad, it was just as good as eating at Denny’s. The inmates cook the food and the CO’s oversee the cooking. Herlong provided three meals a day. We ate breakfast at 6:00 am, lunch around 9:30/10:30 am, and dinner at 3:30/4:30 pm (or after 4 pm count was complete). At Herlong, we waited in a long line along the wall of the food service hall. It usually took about fifteen minutes to get through the line. Then we had another fifteen minutes to eat.
The cool thing about Herlong was that if you were lucky, you could get a second or third helping. It depended on how much food was left, but more importantly, it depended on which CO was in charge. Some CO’s believed that inmates should eat their own food for seconds, but others realized that most inmates don’t have the money to eat in their dorms. Those types of CO’s have no problem offering second helpings. The one rule for multiple helpings were never to take food from the service hall. Any inmate caught doing so would be subjected to the “hole” or put on cleaning duty. Despite the enforced consequences, I have never seen anyone being disciplined for taking food.
As I’ve said earlier, we had only fifteen minutes to eat. One reason was due to the inmates that washed dishes. If we took too long, they would get annoyed. However, as far as I know, as long as I didn’t miss count, I could stay in the food service hall as long as I’m eating.
This lists below are old and it is very possible the menu has changed. I’ll talk more about how the food and the overall service was in a later blog.