Of all the punishments meted out upon prisoners in solitary confinement, the most unsavory may be a misshapen one-pound brick of cuisine that goes by names like Nutraloaf and Disciplinary Loaf. Pennsylvania invented a chickpea version, and Illinois included ground beef and applesauce in its a court-contested-recipe, says the New York Times. The version in New York State prisons used an assortment of baking staples and hard-to-overcook vegetables, including shredded carrots and unskinned potatoes.
Under an agreement to reform New York’s solitary confinement practices, the loaf's long reign as the worst food in the worst corners of New York prisons came to an end, a symbolic victory for inmate advocates and state officials seeking more humane, and more appetizing, treatment for prisoners. “We will eliminate the loaf,” said Alphonso David, chief counsel to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The menu modification is one of a raft of changes to solitary confinement policy announced by the Cuomo administration and applauded by supporters of prisoners' legal and human rights, including improved living conditions and restrictions on the length of stays in small, isolated cells. “I view it as a tremendous step forward,” Karen Murtagh, director of Prisoners' Legal Services of New York, said of yesterday’s announcement.