11 Jan 05

Question Time

A lot of readers have asked about chow. Deanna asked if being a vegetarian was sufficient grounds to receive veggie chow. There are two methods of obtaining special diets that I am aware of: the first is for religious reasons, and must be approved by the chaplain; the second is for medical reasons, and must be approved by the Health Unit. Vegetarianism itself does not qualify an inmate for a special diet. My advice to anyone who becomes detained is to provide a vegetarian religious preference when you are initially booked. This will avoid problems getting your diet later on. The inmates say the best diet is the Jewish one. There have been lots of conversions. You even have Aryan Brotherhood Jews, Mexican Mafia Jews, and Italian Mafia Jews such as Junior Bull.

Tolstoy wrote: "A vegetarian diet is the acid test of humanitarianism."

Another question about chow was posed by Jonathan: how much does the diet affect the health, outlook and behaviour of my fellow inmates and myself? Tying in with Jonathan’s question, an anonymous e-mailer asked whether I thought veggie diets would dampen aggression and reduce smashings. (see ‘Sweat, suicide and death’ 13/0704) Hunger does cause fights. At the Madison Street jail men scavenged and fought over mouldy bread and rotten fruit (see blog ‘April Fools Day’ 04/04/04) their behaviour was the result of the lack of food provided. Some inmates would gang up on other inmates possessing store, and extort them into giving up some food. Fights were sometimes orchestrated under false pretences, so that inmates could steal a target person’s store items.

I am not sure if serving all veggie meals would dampen aggression. Perhaps Scott Clouder at the Vegetarian Society could help answer that. I can only speak about my own experience, that yoga and vegetarianism have changed my outlook on life.

Mr. Greg asked if I would be so kind as to arrange a bare-knuckle fight between him and Barbarian. Gladly, Mr. Greg, I was thinking of a Las Vegas venue – MGM Grand perhaps? I can offer you a package deal, fighting Barbarian, and also Frankie. Frankie wanted me to tell you that he is not only a chess champion, but also a boxing champion. You may want to bring a shank with you, because Frankie, referring to his sexual organ as his weapon of choice, wants a "sword" fight. He’s demanding the usual prize: taking you from behind.

Some of you have been complimentary about my writing, but I also want you to know that I am open to receiving guidance and constructive criticism. Writing is new to me and I am sure that I am inadvertently making plenty of mistakes.

Some of you have asked about what I am reading. Recently read: Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes, The Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Maxims and Reflections by Francois Duc de La RocheFoucauld, and George Orwell and the Origins of 1984 by William Steinhoff. On the lighter side, I read Homer’s Iliad and have just finished Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, which is the most enjoyable work of fiction that I have ever read. It displaces Orwell’s Animal Farm as my favourite fiction book. I am half way through Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of things Past and am in awe of his literary skills. Last month I read Gustav Herling’s A World Apart. His account of life as a political prisoner in Russia during World War II makes my stay here seem like a holiday. All of the aforementioned books are well worth a read. I’d like to thank all of you who have sent books. Cheers! Jon.

Jon’s address:
Shaun Attwood ADC#187160,
ASPC-Lewis, Morey 2-D-2,
P.O. Box 3300, Buckeye,
AZ 85326, USA

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