Report via Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law and Graduate School, in collaboration with Farm to Institution New England

In the midst of budget cuts and other obstacles facing state-run prisons, food is under-prioritized. From sourcing, quality, and safety, to dining environments, the correctional food system often fails to provide individuals who are incarcerated with health, safety, and dignity. But food has long-term effects on the physical and mental health of individuals who are incarcerated, as well as their eventual reintegration into society. These effects are particularly pronounced among Black and brown communities, who are disproportionately represented in New England's prison population and are more likely to experience food and nutrition security before and after incarceration.

In recent years, some efforts have increased access to fresh and local foods and/or provided culinary and agricultural skills and training in New England prisons—but the policy landscape and limited budgets still make increasing food quality difficult. This report is intended to assist policymakers, correctional facility administrators, food service managers, food justice advocates, and the public in understanding the complex set of constitutional, federal, and state laws and policies impacting New England’s prison food system, as well as identify opportunities for reform. 

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