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!

Back to top

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:

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!

Post a comment

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


Inside Time Latest Issue

Issue : December 2014

Headlines | Mailbag | Poems
Book List | PSI Updates


Back Issues

Back Issues

View backissues and extras

Browse and Search Tools

View headlines by category
Search headlines | All headlines
Search mailbag | All mailbag
Search poems | All poems

December 2014 Headlines
> Treat Prisoners as Human Beings, Not Criminals
> What are prisons for
> A search for any trace of the government’s Rehabilitation Revolution
> Tell us why you did it?... You must be joking I didn’t do it
> Care Act - what does it mean for prisoners
> Doctor Frankenstein and his monster
> Human Rights: truth and lies
> Scapegoating the undeserving poor
> Interview
> The first Miscarriage of Justice
> Month by Month - December 2014
> The 2014 Longford Trust Awards
> Is it all in the mind
> Time
> Learning in prison
> Take your first Steps to Success in 2015
> Spotlight Police and Crime Commissioners
> From over the wall
> Over-tariff IPPs: an appeal for your stories
> Paperwork is the key
> Adjudication - don’t let those days count against you
> Insider Dealing
> Christmas Stories
> Christmas Messages
> Christmas Messages

About Us

About insidetime
Editorial Team

InsidePoetry Book

insidepoetry book New! Volume 5 of
insidepoetry book
is now available!

A collection of poems by prisoners of all backgrounds.

Availabe to buy from this site! Volume 1,2,3 and 4 are also still available and you can SAVE by purchasing bundles!

USP Service

USP from Inside Time

The Useful Services for Prisoners scheme from insidetime provides discounts, vouchers and other benefits from USP Group Members for Prisoners, their families and legal advisors. Click the image above to read more about it.


You can subscribe to insidetime Newspaper and get the paper each month delivered to your door!


Advertise your business or solicitors office to a highly defined target audience.

Other Publications

Inside Time has produced a number of books and publications you can purchase online.


Contact Us

All contact info for the Operations office and the Editorial Team.

Site Map

Our site map page contains links to all pages on the insidetime site.

External Links

We have a number of external websites which you may be interested on our Links Page.

Social Networking


Inside Information


Everything you need to know about visiting people in prison; procedures, opening times, directions etc.

Comprehensive information about each prison regime; lock down times, facilities, healthcare etc.

*NEW* Detailed information about IRC - Immigration Removal Centres.

insideinformation Book

insideinformation book
The insideinformation book

A comprehensive guide to prisons and prison related services, designed and compiled by former prisoners.


Help and Support

Various pages of information for help and support organisations and networks for those in custody as well as recently released. Also information for friends and family.

Grants and Funding

This grants and funding pdf document aims to meet the need of prisoners and ex-offenders for accurate, up to date information on the supplementary funding available to prisoners.

Rules and Regulations

Information on rules & regulations used throughout the prison service.

Glossary of Terms

The Glossary of Prison Related Terms explains what all the acronyms and terms stand for with prison related matters. Includes links to external sites to further explain things.

Fact Sheets

We have produced many Prison Related Fact Sheets inc. Legal Fact Sheets, Parole Fact Sheets and Other related information.


Find a Solicitor

You can search our solicitor database for listings of solicitors in your area that provide the services you require.

Find a Barrister

You can search our barrister database for listings of barristers in your area that provide the services you require.

Address Finder

You can search our address database in many ways to retrieve contact information for all those elusive addresses you need in a hurry.

Prison Law pdf

This document provides details of leading training providers who offer sound professional training.

Other Publications

Inside Information has produced a number of books and publications you can purchase online.

Site Map

Our site map page contains links to all pages on the insideinformation site.

Contact Us

Use the Contact Us Feedback form to send us suggestions, plus our address and phone numbers.



Inside Justice

insidejustice was launched in July 2010 to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.

Full introduction is on the insidejustice homepage

insidejustice Cases

insidejustice Articles & Reviews

insidejustice Advisory Panel Members

insidejustice Sponsors page

insidejusticecontact details