The low-cost, soy-based diet served in Florida's prisons amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, says a 34-year-old lifer who is suing the state, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Eric Harris, who was convicted for sexual battery on a child, says the cheap meat substitute is causing painful cramps and gas, and hurting his thyroid and immune system, notes the New York Times.
Florida prisons switched from beef and pork to turkey and soy in 2009, reducing the cost of meals in half, to about $1.70 per prisoner per day. "These men are guinea pigs who are being fed high levels of soy," said a spokeswoman for a nonprofit group that rails against soy food. It is backing both this suit and a similar one by prisoners in Illinois. Counters a prison spokeswoman: "We are required to provide a nutritional meal, which we do, but we also have to be mindful of taxpayers who are footing the bill."