Eric Harris, an inmate in the Lake Correctional Institution in Clermont, FL, has sued the prison authorities for feeding him soy-based foods, which he says constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” forbidden by the U.S. Constitution. If so, millions of vegans must be suffering in silence.
Soy is added to entrees in the Florida correctional system because it is a cheap source of protein, not to mention a trendy superfood. Florida uses a “meat mix” of half soy/half poultry in not-so-trendy dishes like sloppy joes, meatloaf and chili to meet its $1.70-a-day-per-inmate food cost target.
Harris' lawsuit, filed in the state circuit court in Tallahassee, contends that being forced to eat soy compromises his thyroid and immune systems and causes him gastrointestinal distress — admittedly a big problem when you're forced to share a small cell with roomies who have short tempers, histories of violence and nicknames like “Killer.”
A spokeswoman for the state told the Orlando Sentinel that inmates can opt out of the soy-based cruel and unusual choices and get an alternate entrée based on dried beans or peanut butter, but few do, probably because cruel, unusual and gastrointestinally provocative beats bland any day…