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Missouri Prison Reform received the below message from a resident of a Missouri Department of Corrections facility.



In MoDoc fresh vegetables have become nearly extinct. Any vegetables that are grown in any MoDoc prison garden is shipped out to other places to help the needy, so MoDoc staff says.

I have witnessed various staff members and officers at more than one prison obtain mass amounts of fresh vegetables from the prison inmate up kept gardens to keep for themselves or to sell at farmers markets and other places for personal gain.

Many inmates in MoDoc go without fresh vegetables and get canned vegetables purchased from outside vendors at a substantial cost to the state. To make up the indifference in nutrition inmates are given mass amounts of soy products and other unhealthy processed food items that are once again purchased from outside vendors.

There is free nutritional super foods grown on site in the inmate prison gardens at most MoDoc prisons that is not only less harmful than the processed or soy products but has more nutrition in one handful than a state tray has for the inmate. The dwindling nutritional health of inmates does not go unnoticed by other inmates or medical staff. The health issues sustained from the soy and processed food products given to inmates at every meal is becoming greater substantially at all Missouri state prisons.

The process of a inmate to be able to obtain fresh vegetables is no different than the process of smuggling narcotics across the U.S. borders. As pots, pans and food trays are banging and binging in the front of the prison kitchen, there is always a inmate or two in a back room of the kitchen keeping a lookout for officers while they wrap or strap bags of fresh vegetables to their upper torsos, groin area, ankles or they will stuff their boots if no bread bags, trash bags or plastic kitchen aprons are available to wrap and tie things up in place to be able to hopefully make it through one or more officer body pat downs before getting the vegetables back to their cells to unwrap them.

If caught the inmate will be handcuffed behind their back and immediately walked over to administrative segregation also known to inmates as the hole, done done and or city jail for the theft and smuggling of vegetables. The inmate will get no less than 10 days in ad-seg and will have their inmate financial account charged by the weight of the vegetable(s) at a cost per pound that is nowhere reasonable even on the streets like at Walmart, Snooks or Hyvee.

We are not offered a price match guarantee here in prison! This can be a costly operation for the inmate if caught. The inmate will also receive a conduct violation (CDV) for the theft and smuggling of vegetables as well as a secondary for interfering with normal officer duties because the officer had to take the inmate to ad-seg and use his paid shift time to write the conduct violation. The inmate can lose his or her parole date for receiving a CDV of any kind. I’ve seen inmates have to do 1 or more years past their parole date because they were caught with fresh broccoli or some diced beets they took from the kitchen.

Inmates understand this risk buy they still go to these extremes to get fresh vegetables for themselves or to sell to other inmates because they are required to work in the kitchen free of charge while trying to live on a mere $8.50 a month having to pay for personal hygiene items such as toothpaste, shampoo etc at the same if not more inflated cost as on the street.

When inmates are willing to risk their freedom to obtain essential super food nutrition that’s grown right outside their cell windows then it is obvious there needs to be a change. By not shipping out and  supplying the prisons with its own grown vegetables will not only cut costs within MoDoc but will lessen the burden of the Missouri taxpayer. It will also provide the inmates with better nutritional food and also cut the costs of medical treatments and medicines because the inmate will not be lacking the essential natural vitamins and minerals the body needs to function in a healthy manner.

With this very simple move it will save hundreds of thousands of hard-earned Missouri taxpaying dollars across the state at the numerous amount of prisons the state of Missouri has. We can truly save money and be healthier by eating on site fresh vegetables that came from mostly donated seeds.

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