You’ll Eat It and Like It: Rehabbing Vegans in Texas Prisons

David Cassuto

First the bad news then some good news then some middling, reality check observations.

It seems that a prisoner in Texas wishes to eat a vegan diet but the prison system will not let him.  Texas currently offers only a “meatless option,” which includes dairy and eggs.  The prisoner has sued under RLUIPA, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (more about the statute here), to force the prison to respect his dietary wishes.

Prior to the lawsuit, the state based its refusal to provide a vegan diet on the expense involved (once again raising the bizarre reality that eating animals that eat vegetables is less expensive than eating the vegetables themselves).  However, in responding to the lawsuit, Texas now intends to present expert testimony from a prison dietitian who “will opine that a long-term, strict vegan diet is likely to lead to the development of nutritional deficiencies and significant health problems for most people.”  Yes, that’s right, sports fans: vegan prisoners are starving themselves and need meat and/or dairy to survive.   Continue reading