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The following is a letter to insidetime, from issue April 2011

Food wasted as people starve

From Jeff Ollerhead – HMP Liverpool

I would like to raise the issue of the amount of food that is wasted in our prisons. This is a bloody crime in itself. In this jail the prisoners get issued a brew pack containing condiments of teabags, and sachets of milk powder, sugar and jam. I work as a cleaner and I take away the wing rubbish, and I always find piles of unused packets of jam and milk powder being thrown away. Just think how welcome this stuff would be in places where there is famine or malnutrition in children? I suggest that instead of throwing this stuff away we should make a concerted effort to collect it up and send it to places and people in need. I would like this to be prison-wide, let’s collect this unwanted foodstuff and help the hungry and needy. Let’s get jamming folks!



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Comments about this letter

3/4/2011 Steven Battram

The jam sachet is probably not suitable to feed the malnourished. Basically the jam sachet is just chemically flavoured sugar and would probably poison the malnourished. What is even worse I've seen screws throw food in the bin rather than offer seconds. When I enquired why, the screw said, 'Con's are only allowed a certain amount of calories. To give out seconds would be contravening prison rules.' This was in a POA controlled prison. When I was in a private prison the screws shouted 'seconds.'

It's wrong to operate and pay for prisons where it's run for the benefit of the POA. POA prisons cost more to the tax payer and offer a far worse regime. Why not privatise prisons and send the taxes it saves to the third world to feed the malnourished. I'd rather that than feed a parasitic organization like the POA.

6/4/2011 Darby

I have seen the screws tuck right into the leftovers themselves, rather than give it out to 'still-hungry' cons.

Apart from the fact that no right-minded person would actually CHOOSE to eat the muck (masquarading as food!) that's dished up, I think it shows the absolute contempt that the screws have for the very people they are charged with looking after.

In my experience - dogs have always been partial to the odd leftover!

Moderator's Comment:
It is against the rules for staff to eat prisoners' food and is, in fact, theft.

6/4/2011 Steven Battram

Nice one Moderator

I was in the Scrubs and the screws stole milk for the cons breakfast, using it to make tea. A con stole the milk from their tearoom, but was caught. The screws did not know what to do. How do you discipline a con for theft, when the goods had already been stolen by the screws. They fell back on the screws solution to all problems and shipped him out to distant climes!

6/4/2011 The Count of Monte Cristo

We used to call them 'Hotplate Hamsters', though they are really more like rats. Long Tails, as they are called in some nicks.

6/4/2011 Darby

Still on the subject of 'food'. - I was sacked from the Scrubs kitchen for refusing to pick up a tray of sliced corned beef that had ended up all over the floor after an accident. I was expected to put it back on the trolley - ready to be sent out to the unsuspecting cons on the wings.

You will only hang on to the 'cream' jobs in a jail if you are prepared to turn a blind eye to the screws underhand (and often illegal!) practices.

It seems refusal ALWAYS causes (an) offence in prisons!?

7/4/2011 James Jaks

@Darby I can well see that happening with some of the 'less well educated' screw personnel. Fair play to you sir on refusing to forward that garbage. I only hope that they didn't intimidate some other poor less fortunate to do the dirty deed. You have my support.

7/4/2011 Darby

Some people will compromise their principles in jail at the drop a hat, and some will do everything in their power to avoid doing so.

However, this wasn't a life and death situation, just something on which I felt I could/should make a stand.
Had I been serving a life sentence or an IPP (This was about 25 years ago, and I was doing 3 years!) I may well have 'parked my principles up' for awhile - Who knows!

11/4/2011 Reg Hollingsworth

So on the one hand we have full dustbinloads of food thrown away;and on the other we have a call for prosecutions under the 1968 Theft Act for a screw who happens to eat a slice of toast or who flavours his cuppa with a sachet of long life milk or powder!
Then we have other respondents bleating on about the misappropriation of foodstuffs by Prison Officers, irrespective of the fact that about 93% of inmates agree that prison food is shit anyway!
Then we have another respondent up in arms at the thought of sending junk food jam to third world countries on the grounds that it might make them feel unwell.
Jeff ollerhead comes up with a lovely and attainable idea to help out and all he gets is 'Dissed' by people who on the outside probobly couldn't give a monkeys if they nicked something of high sentimental value from a poor old lady in a wheelchair, as long as it bought them a bag of 'smack'
Fer f***s sake!

12/4/2011 Darby

@Reg Hollingsworth

Just because I'm not in jail, it doesn't mean that I have to agree with everything from someone who is.

You say that he came up with a "lovely and attainable idea", and I say, that in 2005 (I don't have more up to date figures!) the food industry was sending seventeen million tonnes of food to Britain's landfill sites every year because it was cheaper and easier to dump it than to give it to those in need.

It is a shameful waste when you consider about Four million tonnes of this food was/is perfectly alright to eat, being fresh, tasty and well within its sell-by-date, - If sold in the shops, this dumped food would have cost about £18 billion.

This is why a bit of poxy prison sugar and jam wont make a scrap of difference, and also why I think this letter, was about as well thought out as your own post!

"Lovely and Attainable" - Don't make me laugh!

13/4/2011 Pip

Darby, about this corned beef !
Someone had to pick it up so why not U.
Then you could have put it in the dustbin yourself and that would have been the end of the matter.
So what you did was to leave it for somebody else to pick up and, presumably, it still ended up back on the wing!
Did you mention something about principles?
To use a phrase of yours:
DON,T MAKE ME LAUGH!

14/4/2011 Darby

Pip, I certainly was/am not questioning the good intention behind Mr Ollerhead's idea - only the realistic viability!

He wasn't suggesting sending the left-overs to the local soup-kitchen/homeless centre, or some local charity organisation - he was/is, actually championing the idea of foisting it on to those already suffering famine and malnutrition! - It just didn't/doesn't make sense to me!

You on the other hand, seem to want to take a more personal slant on things by questioning the mettle of MY principles, which is a bit rich considering I strongly suspect you of being a 'screw' - most of whom we know - hang their principles up with their key fobs when they enter the jail for work.

Just for the record. I was first sent to the Scrubs when I was Fifteen. I was sent from the Scrubs to Camphill (on another sentence) on the Isle of white (which is a adult prison!) when I was Seventeen, from where I escaped (with Three others!) which resulted in the three island prisons ( Parkhurst/Albany/CH - as they were then! ) being shut down for a couple of days before we were all captured.

This escape, - along with a peaceful sit-down protest (sparked by the screws deliberately damaging cons personal photos when removing them from cell walls whilst we were conveniently out on exercise!)- at which we were honoured with a guest appearance from the MUFTI!, and other perceived rule breaking on the part of 'the management' - insured that my freedom came by way of a 'block discharge'

I left that segregation unit having served almost every day of a 21 month sentence in a adult prison.-I was still aged Nineteen which in effect meant that I was leaving the prison about Thirteen months before I should really be old enough to even enter it, - the irony still makes me smile!

I'll just finish by saying, it's my guess, that YOU have never REARLY had to test YOUR OWN principles, - not to the extent where you KNOW that the stand you are about to undertake, WILL result in some mental, and even more pertinent, PHYSICAL PAIN.

I find that most minor stands I make in life are futile, as somewhere in the mix - will be an idiot like you!

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Summary of letters in the Mailbag for April 2011
Know the law
Charlie Bronson – labelled by the media
Access to our data
CCRC will be destroyed by Bamber
Current page: Food wasted as people starve
Still rotting in jail
I am not a sex offender
Injured and abandoned
Snide comments
Licence recalls costing taxpayers millions
Rehabilitation, not medication
Poor excuse for splitting up a family
We should hang our heads in shame
A picture of my life
The blind leading the blind
Gilfoyle is not the only one
Prescott should wake up
Not so independent?
Keep the money, I want to vote!
Police: A law unto themselves
Not welcome in Dave’s ‘Big Society’
Prisoners should have voting rights
MoJ shoots itself in the foot over votes fiasco
British ‘justice’ – don’t make me laugh
Fight for your rights!
Caught bang-to-rights!!!
Thank you, Zoe
Like the McPherson Report never happened

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