Sophie was in prison for three years and experienced life in three different prisons, after getting kicked out of two. Food in jail significantly affected her time inside and continues to impact her life.
“I put on about five stone whilst I was in prison. It was awful. In my last year I got home leave, so I was able to go home on a weekend every four weeks. I remember leaving prison and the first thing I did was pop into Morrisons and buy a shit load of salad and chicken breast. I didn’t care, I sat on the train and made up my own little salad and ate it. Even now I absolutely love salad because I just didn’t have it in prison.
Since leaving prison I really watch what I eat. I don’t eat processed food, additives, sugar – nothing like that, because the food was so shit in prison that it just completely turned me off anything processed or poor quality. You know when you have a weekend off and eat pizzas, beer and stuff and you feel crap. Imagine feeling that way for three years – and it being completely out of your control.
I don’t think the food quality has anything to do with funding. They need to teach the women cooking to actually take pride in the food they’re serving. A few times we had dish cloths served up in the food from where something had spilt in the kitchen and they’d just been told to scoop it up and chuck it back in the tray.
In terms of our health, most people I was in prison with struggled to go to the toilet as usual. Then you’re getting ill because your body is full of toxins. Most would go and get Laxido and have 50ml at breakfast, lunch and dinner to help you go to the toilet, because they couldn’t pass the food. I had to use that for about 6 months because it was such a massive shock to the system.
Quite a few changed religion to get better food. They decided to become Muslim because the food they got during Ramadan was amazing, or Judaism because the Kosher food was fantastic.”