Soylent as a food for inmates


I dont think there is a need to offer them any extra incentives for using it. Just give them the option. I am sure many would rather use Soylent just because they know their fellow inmates arent doing disgusting stuff to their food. I know people who have been in prison and they told me it is not uncommon for inmates to put their bodily fluids in the food they prepare. Give me some Soylent over that any day.


i was more thinking of an ethical way to get a large number of long term test subjects in a controlled environment. the “savings” would be their remuneration for being test subjects. they fact they are in a situation where they can not easily find alternative food arrangements is a bonus.


If Soylent is eventually proven to help people make calmer, more intelligent decisions without feeling drained or desparate, I don’t think any penal system would be eager to make the swap. I agree that it would save enormously on costs (directly or indirectly via medical/psychological services resuling from malnutrition), but even to for-profit places like CCA or Wackenhut the most immediate goal is subjugation. You don’t want physically and mentally sound, confident prisoners. God forbid they start using the prison library to study law.


This was an interesting thread.

I don’t see why Soylent shouldn’t be offered as a dietary choice for inmates, under whatever conditions seem appropriate. I don’t get paid for consuming Soylent now; I don’t see why I would need compensation for consuming it as a prisoner.

I think the company wouldn’t want to identify Soylent as “prison food” right now, though. If it becomes widely popular, its reputation won’t be a problem.

There might be a problem with Soylent packages being used to smuggle contraband. If something can be misused, you can bet that it will be, in prisons.


I would only be okay with Soylent as food for inmates if it was something they specifically asked for. It has been very obvious here that Soylent isn’t for everyone. Some people can’t stand the texture, the taste or the fact that it isn’t the same as what they are used to. It is fine for those of us who choose to consume Soylent… but it is by no means a luxury food.

It is not okay to force someone to consume something against their will. If you suddenly replaced normal food with Soylent in prisons, it would be compared to feeding them dog food, because they were seen as less than human… We may love Soylent, but I doubt everyone in prison would welcome the idea… not in until Soylent is actually perfect (it isn’t yet). Sure, once it is good enough, it could be an option.

(Keep in mind that I am from Denmark, and our prison system is very different here.)


When I said, “dietary choice”, that means “not compelled”.


I’m from the US and I’ve never been to prison, but I would assume that they don’t get a choice as to what they eat. It seems like they would eat whatever the kitchen happened to make that day, I really doubt there are menus or anything (it is prison after all). If that is the case then I don’t see any problem with feeding inmates Soylent in the future when the product has been shown to have no adverse side effects (which I personally feel like has already happened).

The question I would ask is, will Soylent ever be the cheapest food available? I can go to Safeway or Walmart and pick up some ramen noodles, hotdogs, and mac and cheese for under $1. I would be very surprised if Soylent ever became that cheap (but I really hope it does).


I think Soylent as a food for prisons could be a good idea, but to get everyone on board with it there would have to be some things clarified. The first would be what is normal food? Many of you keep saying its unethical to replace their “normal food” with Soylent. Would it be unethical to only offer pork meats to Islamic people? Would it be unethical to offer limited vegetarian options to prisoners? Neither of those would be “normal food” to them so there needs to be a set definition of what food in prison should offer. Next, it is unethical to ONLY offer Soylent to prisoners, if only for the medical issue. Being in its early stages, we don’t know what effects it could have on some people. We are already aware of the gas issue, but what issues have gone unnoticed? To only offer Soylent as their daily nutrition would be immoral and possibly harmful.

However, if there could be many more studies proving Soylent’s health benefits and very few (if any) downfalls as well as a government issued declaration of what is “normal” food for prisoners, then Soylent could make its way into the penal system as an option for prisoners that, hopefully, will be taken advantage of for its cost and health benefits.


Speaking as someone who has spent a few days in jail I can say the inmates have virtually no choice in what they eat. They can eat the “food” the guards give them or starve. Soylent, once perfected, would be a step up from the “food” the prisoners get now.

When I was locked up some of the other prisoners got a diabetic meal upon request for health reasons. I believe some even got a vegetarian meal. So in that light a prisoner could request regular food if the Soylent proved inedible for them.


Wait, what? Tell us more how did that happen. If you dont mind ofcourse.


In my County lockup, you could go kosher or use other elaborate methods to get on a semi-healthy diet. What they feed you by default is frozen scrambled eggs, cheaper than mcdonalds, water with specks of grain called ‘grits’, awful juice instant packets that caused diarrhea (nobody but the new guys even bothered), and oranges that were probably the least awful.

I could go on about lunch and dinner (or the terrible comissary with basically just chocolate bars and ramen), but I think the idea is clear. This diet I would term as ‘sh*tlent’. Vitamin deficincies were certain, 2000kcal would be impossible to come near in a day and people gambled breakfasts during card games because they were so worthless. The carbs were of the lowest quality and you’d get no protein. No fiber either, making the bathroom janitors (also prisoners) have a nasty ordeal to clean up for cents by the hour.

A balanced diet with steady energy would reduce potential violent outbreaks, improve cognition and reasoning, clean up the bathrooms in a week and perhaps most importantly reduce odor and other poor hygeine. It would also give inmates the freedom to have soylent when they so desired and as someone else pointed out, lower food preparations costs, waste handling and dishware. Replace the juice flavor packets with chocolate/strawberry/etc flavoring packets and boom, more choice again. Soylent is designed to have no consistent taste that would lead to boredom. Today’s meals behind those walls are quite the opposite. I must disagree with the Dane above. Today’s meals are being forced on prisoners and it is essentially dog food.

I am however tempted to agree with @ivanperfewm. Jail is for those awaiting conviction/trial and thus a form of intimidation. It isn’t ‘just the way it is, because we can’t trust you won’t ditch court and the state as a whole’. It’s about deliberately compromising your emotional and nutritional well-being so you are more suggestible and not so prideful that you’d start rationally disputing this monstrosity of a system in the first place. It also helps to keep you hating the other moody people around you. Divide and conquer. If a fight breaks out, you get more charges, an added bonus for the system, and they get away with extended isolation without anyone (in America) shouting ‘torture’ - which is what that is. All they want you to think about is what a naughty little boy you’ve been and keep your eyes off the billions (in America) wall street is banking on privatized incarceration.

I don’t see anyone in corrections even entertaining this idea. Even if it’s clearly the most humane and financially responsible. They’re willing to lose a few bucks if it keeps your poor sob in the meatgrind of justice.


I think this is a great idea. I saw an article the other day (caveat: from the Chive, so no upstanding publication) that had pictures of school and prison meals, and the reader was supposed to guess which was which. It’s true that Soylent is no filet mignon, but some of the entrees being served in prison are mystery meat that might as well be Soylent you eat with a fork. If Soylent is “cruel and unusual”, the current eating situation isn’t much better. The gas in a prison using only Soylent may be quite cruel and unusual though. :dizzy_face:

That being said, the savings from switching to Soylent would be marginal- if cost cutting is the goal, cutting the prison population needs to be the priority. Stop sending petty criminals to jail where they learn to be real criminals. Emphasize rehabilitation over punishment, as the prison system is supposed to do. Who knows, maybe we can not only save money but also cut down on crime.


I remember the mystery meat well. Before being in jail it was just a term. I suspect that the “meat” was actually meat byproduct. I won’t even feed my dog meat byproduct.


We could probably save on a lot of penal costs by not having almost 3 million prisoners…


How do you propose we do that? More executions?


I think he meant just imprison less people.
While the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 22 percent of the world’s prisoners.


Which is definitely ironic, since we claim to be the “land of the free.”


The freedom to jail the poor.

Really though, it would cost more in mental health and social services than just throwing them all in a cage and feeding them worse than dog food.

But then. I don’t really care about cost comparisons when it comes to human life. If one of your arguments is what’s “cheapest”, step back and re-consider your values.


Hey you know, because you’re such a patriot I’m gonna give you a flag.

Continue to berate people here and you’ll soon have enough flags to host the olympics.


You know, this was a moderately ridiculous thread to begin with (prisons?), but the tone of the comments is getting out of line. I’m pretty sure people aren’t even understanding each other or recognizing sarcasm, etc. Why don’t we just kill this thread so that people don’t offend each other for absolutely no good reason?