27 Days in Jail as a Vegetarian - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-07-2017, 05:29 PM
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27 Days in Jail as a Vegetarian

Let me start out with this:



Normal me is fit, and definitely not eating my own body / or in starvation mode.

This is a few months old but I decided I'd share the experience.

I ended up having some small, open legal case, dragged on for years because the court took forever to work things out (lost paper work the whole thing) - anyway I just took the month in jail to get it out of the way and over with.

I'm a vegetarian. They do offer some sort of different food - but the way it works in (my) county is - you put a slip in. Lucky me got in trouble walking in, literally had a cigarette in my pocket as I was walking in on my own accord and not from being arrested. So I spent my whole time in the the 'hole' and literally was in a cell 24/7 (aside from when we had a guard who wanted toi let us take a shower some days or maybe go outside for 45 minutes where I'd run (but it was so small it was pointless).

So you 3 meals you get, which all have to be a certain amount of calories, sometimes food doesn't stand up to the standard so they throw mayo on the noodle for example, to increase the calories on the 'tray'. Anyway - it took 5-6 days to get a different tray without meat, which meant in my case a fish & veggy tray. Some days it was just veggy's so I was OK with that, but there was 26 days where I spent most the time wondering if I was going to eat.

I lost approx. 1.6-1.8 pounds a day while I was there. I was also not given my medication, which is a benzodiazepine (and usually they give you something, or your medication but in my case I got neither - so I went through detox at the same time and it's not safe to do such - let alone be on the diet I was on).

Anyway - I just feel for others in my position and those trying to change their lifes. I recommend making sure you get your food situated if you're ever in my position - beforehand - as in writing from the judge to the jail/prison stating you must have such diet as 6 days of bread and the occasional potatoe really was the hardest thing I ever went through (especially on top of the benzo withdrawal). I spent a lot of time wriuting down foods I never eat (and still don't) things I missed (mostly carbs) - peanut butter etc, jsut pages and pages until my mouth started to salivate
I hope this helps/educates some people!
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#2 Old 02-08-2017, 11:40 PM
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Thanks for sharing your experience. This seems like one of those situations that people don't really think about unless they have to deal with it personally, so it's interesting to hear about it first-hand. Has your health improved lately? Hopefully you were able to gain back some of what you lost and get medicine sorted out.

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#3 Old 02-09-2017, 04:42 AM
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Wow, thank you for sharing your story! Kudos to you for holding to your morals and remaining vegetarian despite the hardships.

I think it is important for all of us to advocate for marginalized groups of people. This is a common scenario in places like nursing homes, hospitals (my vegan mother subsisted on oats and plain veggies and plain baked potato for two weeks in the hospital once), prisons, halfway houses, military units, psych wards for the mentally ill, and even some children who live with parents who refuse to acknowledge their wishes to be vegetarian/vegan.

I hope you are healing now. I went through periods of mental illness with self imposed starvation and I remember the vivid food hallucinations I would have, and the countless notebooks of foods I wrote down that I craved intensely and would fantasize about. What you experienced reminds me of the Minnesota Starvation experiment.

I think it is a shame that human rights are sometimes ignored in vegan communities, though lots of vegans are advocates of human rights as well as animal rights. I believe we can advocate for animals indirectly by advocating for vegans and vegetarians in institutional settings.
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#4 Old 02-15-2017, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Paisley.Dear View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience. This seems like one of those situations that people don't really think about unless they have to deal with it personally, so it's interesting to hear about it first-hand. Has your health improved lately? Hopefully you were able to gain back some of what you lost and get medicine sorted out.
I did quickly enough put the weight back on - I also started seeing a dietician and just had soem blood work done recently. All is well enough at this time. I have begun thinking more about vegan in a helthier way, doing it on my own without guidance would probably not be a success story so it's still in the working phase.

Thank you for your words.
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#5 Old 02-15-2017, 06:58 AM
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Wow, thank you for sharing your story! Kudos to you for holding to your morals and remaining vegetarian despite the hardships.

I think it is important for all of us to advocate for marginalized groups of people. This is a common scenario in places like nursing homes, hospitals (my vegan mother subsisted on oats and plain veggies and plain baked potato for two weeks in the hospital once), prisons, halfway houses, military units, psych wards for the mentally ill, and even some children who live with parents who refuse to acknowledge their wishes to be vegetarian/vegan.

I hope you are healing now. I went through periods of mental illness with self imposed starvation and I remember the vivid food hallucinations I would have, and the countless notebooks of foods I wrote down that I craved intensely and would fantasize about. What you experienced reminds me of the Minnesota Starvation experiment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5mujgdy8qo

I think it is a shame that human rights are sometimes ignored in vegan communities, though lots of vegans are advocates of human rights as well as animal rights. I believe we can advocate for animals indirectly by advocating for vegans and vegetarians in institutional settings.

No problem, I just hope their are a few people this helps who are in the same position or something like it. I really don't know how much you can do once you're in these positions which is the scariest part. Not having access to a phone, or sometimes even a writing utensil can make life a lot harder and make you feel alone even if you're around other people that present the same issues/like mind.

I would write or say something but only to things would occur a) I'd never hear back and if I did it's be a BS answer that no one meant even if they said something 'nice' in response and B) putting your name back into a system that people look for any reason to segregate you is not the healthiest way of gaining attention (which I know is not what is wanted anyway, at least not this kind of attention).

God forbid you end up at plae like that again and they remember you giving them a 'hard time' they will make your life a hell just by something simple. I seriously have to say sometimes you didn't get a juice, which had vitamins in it that obviously I was not getting from the food so even skipping me for such would be a big deal. I don't plan for this sort of thing to occur again but I would rather play it smart. Maybe there is someone locally I could write but I believe the jail is publically owned, and it runs on a legal basis that it governed by laws anyone would have to abide by in such positions. I'm not to sure - but I have wrote state reps. before and heard back, so maybe they'd be interested to hear this? I could keep my face/name out of the letter/email and see how that goes. If you could recommend what type of official I'd inform please let me know.
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#6 Old 02-19-2017, 12:40 PM
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Thank you for taking the time to tell your story. I'm glad you survived and got that behind you. It could happen to anyone.

I think there is an attitude in society that hey, they broke the law, let them suffer...even to the point of joking casually about prison rape and other atrocities. You couldn't even get decent food.

If I could make the laws I'd reform the system so that everyone gets vegan meals in prison. It would be healthier and cheaper. Carnivores would adjust.

I'd also see that the laws are enforced ...no assault or other crimes permitted, period. If you want to punish prisoners more, there could be a stiffer work requirement. Torture is wrong.
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#7 Old 02-19-2017, 02:57 PM
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It's unacceptable that any dietary restrictions would be disrespected in a prison or jail setting, whether it is due to following kosher, halal, or a vegetarian or vegan option.

Fish isn't a vegetable and it actually would have been cheaper to give you beans. It's really not that difficult. My local Jewish food bank for the low income and homeless understand this. I am not Jewish, but I really admire what they do. Because of their own dietary restrictions they try to honor diabetics, vegetarians and vegans, as well as standard kosher orders. How hard is it really to give some one pasta, or beans and rice, or something like peas with potatoes. In fact if you were lacto-ovo, it seems like it would be super easy to give you an egg breakfast with no meat, and a cheese sandwich with tomato soup for lunch.

I am sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for sharing your experience, because being in jail should not be torture. It's a complete outrage that you didn't get your medication or at least weren't weaned off it more slowly if it is not an approved med (are benzedrines things like Valium that can be abused?)

I'm sure this also varies by state.
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#8 Old 02-19-2017, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_green_gold View Post
Thank you for taking the time to tell your story. I'm glad you survived and got that behind you. It could happen to anyone.

I think there is an attitude in society that hey, they broke the law, let them suffer...even to the point of joking casually about prison rape and other atrocities. You couldn't even get decent food.

If I could make the laws I'd reform the system so that everyone gets vegan meals in prison. It would be healthier and cheaper. Carnivores would adjust.

I'd also see that the laws are enforced ...no assault or other crimes permitted, period. If you want to punish prisoners more, there could be a stiffer work requirement. Torture is wrong.
I've had the system explained to me thusly: the arrest holding tank is the worst - no food, peeing in front of other people in there with you. Then county jail is a little more comfortable, and prison is actually the most accomadating, because it's long term.

Ironically, I think prison used to be more like what you described. Felons worked on chain gangs, and were fed cheaper foods like beans, or cheese, instead of meat, because meat used to be seen as a luxury. They may have had cheap salted meat like bacon once in a while.

"Thinkers may prepare revolutions, but bandits must carry them out"~
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#9 Old 02-19-2017, 10:33 PM
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" I was also not given my medication, which is a benzodiazepine (and usually they give you something, or your medication but in my case I got neither - so I went through detox at the same time and it's not safe to do such"

That is dreadful. It is soooo dangerous to give up benzodiazepine like that. It should be a slow, slow, slow process. You can get really bad seizures and even die. You can end up with withdrawal symptoms that last for the rest of your life. I take them to prevent seizures and I told my Dr they weren't working very well so how do I give them up and she said that I don't we just increase the dose because the withdrawal process for the dose I am taking would take so long to withdraw from that I could die from my brain problem before I had given them up so it wasn't worthwhile going through it.

I feel so sorry that that happened to you it must have been so awful for you.

It should never have happened. I hope that you are not left with any residual withdrawal symptoms.
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#10 Old 03-01-2017, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Thalassa View Post
It's unacceptable that any dietary restrictions would be disrespected in a prison or jail setting, whether it is due to following kosher, halal, or a vegetarian or vegan option.

Fish isn't a vegetable and it actually would have been cheaper to give you beans. It's really not that difficult. My local Jewish food bank for the low income and homeless understand this. I am not Jewish, but I really admire what they do. Because of their own dietary restrictions they try to honor diabetics, vegetarians and vegans, as well as standard kosher orders. How hard is it really to give some one pasta, or beans and rice, or something like peas with potatoes. In fact if you were lacto-ovo, it seems like it would be super easy to give you an egg breakfast with no meat, and a cheese sandwich with tomato soup for lunch.

I am sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for sharing your experience, because being in jail should not be torture. It's a complete outrage that you didn't get your medication or at least weren't weaned off it more slowly if it is not an approved med (are benzedrines things like Valium that can be abused?)

I'm sure this also varies by state.
You wont believe this but I guess I sort of am lacto-ovo veggy, but trust me it wasn't easy rearranging my beliefs, the things I was working on (going vegan) etc. in this situation. I admitingly thought of eating the fish basically to survive, even though I have an allergy to tuna and never have eaten fish otherwish due to a) just be cautionary growing up and b) because well, who would like such a thing with an experience of a bad reaction as a child (worked out well considering I became a vegetarian).

Anyway benzodiazepines are legal but scheduled in the USA as well as most countries - although in a lot of Europe they are available over the counter. I have been on/off (more on than off) of them my entire life starting from 16 to now, my later twenties. I have went a couple years without them. I have never abused them and don't take them for such purposes (abuse really results in blacking out, I don't see any fun in that).

I was honest about my use, which was directed by the doctor, I had my prescriptions verified by the jail themself, and yet I was 'not high risk' because most people either lie or are seriously abusing them that come into jail (people lying will say they take it, or take more than they do to get it while in jail, for the reason I should have really - to get myself weened off). Anyway - that's the story with that.

And yes the 'hole' is the worst - and yes you piss in front of people - but that's pretty much all of county jail other than a few areas where you may have a half wall or in rare occasions a stall.
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#11 Old 03-01-2017, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Thalassa View Post
It's unacceptable that any dietary restrictions would be disrespected in a prison or jail setting, whether it is due to following kosher, halal, or a vegetarian or vegan option.

Fish isn't a vegetable and it actually would have been cheaper to give you beans. It's really not that difficult. My local Jewish food bank for the low income and homeless understand this. I am not Jewish, but I really admire what they do. Because of their own dietary restrictions they try to honor diabetics, vegetarians and vegans, as well as standard kosher orders. How hard is it really to give some one pasta, or beans and rice, or something like peas with potatoes. In fact if you were lacto-ovo, it seems like it would be super easy to give you an egg breakfast with no meat, and a cheese sandwich with tomato soup for lunch.

I am sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for sharing your experience, because being in jail should not be torture. It's a complete outrage that you didn't get your medication or at least weren't weaned off it more slowly if it is not an approved med (are benzedrines things like Valium that can be abused?)

I'm sure this also varies by state.
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Originally Posted by BlueMts View Post
" I was also not given my medication, which is a benzodiazepine (and usually they give you something, or your medication but in my case I got neither - so I went through detox at the same time and it's not safe to do such"

That is dreadful. It is soooo dangerous to give up benzodiazepine like that. It should be a slow, slow, slow process. You can get really bad seizures and even die. You can end up with withdrawal symptoms that last for the rest of your life. I take them to prevent seizures and I told my Dr they weren't working very well so how do I give them up and she said that I don't we just increase the dose because the withdrawal process for the dose I am taking would take so long to withdraw from that I could die from my brain problem before I had given them up so it wasn't worthwhile going through it.

I feel so sorry that that happened to you it must have been so awful for you.

It should never have happened. I hope that you are not left with any residual withdrawal symptoms.
Thank you for the response - I appreciate the detail about where you live it makes me feel a bit better being understood and that situation I was put in. The food and medicine situation together = a literal nightmare. I'm working on writing something now to try and at least be active in what I believe in - I am sending a letter to a state rep. Hopefully it will make a difference
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#12 Old 03-01-2017, 08:30 PM
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benzedrines are abused. There is an illegal market for them. Shouldn't be able to get them without a script (at least not in Aus.)

But that shouldn't stop someone who has a prescription from getting them in jail. The correct dose just needs to be given to the person at the time they are supposed to take it and the person who takes them needs to take them under supervision.
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#13 Old 03-12-2017, 07:23 PM
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Does anyone know who - in my position - that I would/could/should contact to make a difference with my story? I was planning on blanking out my tattoo's and keeping my name out - that way it wouldn't come back on me. I think I previously mentioned, it's unfortunate but if you make an issue on the outside and God forbid that you end up in jail again or around any law enforcement, you may end up being a minority that is treated/judged for 'making their lives harder.' As one could imagine, I have wanted to stand up for my rights plenty of times and have, but also have not and this is a time I know I should for the sake of those who cannot (as I couldn't do anything about my situation - I don't want it happening it again).

I was thinking about a state rep. or a senate member? Thanks for opinions & support.
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#14 Old 04-23-2017, 11:48 PM
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Thank you for sharing your experience. Well, its really hard when your in that kind of situation like your being deprived of the best foods that will not just satisfy you but to really sustain your hunger and will provide you god nutrition as well. It will somehow be an eye opener for many people as well that its really hard to be in jail and to break rules. But I must say, it takes so much courage to admit that and for you to share your story.
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