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What is the food like in prison? Task

When you are in prison, you will be given three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), one of which will be a hot meal. 

The prison staff must make sure you are given enough food and that the food is safe, healthy and varied. All food must be stored, prepared and served according to safety and hygiene regulations.  

The exact food you get will depend on the prison but meals in prison are usually inexpensive and easy to store and prepare. 

  • Breakfast is usually a pack containing cereal, milk, whitener, tea and coffee sachets. 
  • Lunch might be a sandwich or a portion of pasta, with some fruit, crisps or biscuits.  
  • Dinner might be curry, pie, baked fish or casserole, with rice, vegetables or potatoes, and dessert or fruit.  

You will have access to drinking water at all times. You should also be able to have at least four hot drinks a day, such as tea or coffee. 

Generally, you won’t have a choice at breakfast, but you will be able to choose your lunch and dinner. You will get a menu in advance with several meal options to choose from. Your meal times, where you eat and the portions of food will be decided by the prison staff. 

Special diets are diets that are required for medical, religious, cultural or ethical reasons (for example diabetic, halal, kosher, vegetarian and vegan diets). The prison staff must provide you with meals that meet your medical, religious or ethical dietary requirements and special diets must be stored, prepared and served according to religious, cultural and other special dietary requirements.

Your prison will tell you when and where meals will be served. You will usually have meals with other prisoners at a set time and place.

3 replies on “What is the food like in prison?”

  • Anonymous User says:

    Hi just read your page about prison food. After serving five months at HMP Lincoln, I would like to add a few things. With lunch you will typically receive a bottle or carton of spring/flavoured water. With a sandwich I normally got one or two pieces of fruit or a chocolate bar/biscuits

    Breakfast packs consist of either rice krispies, Weetabix (2 pack), cornflakes or nesquick cereal. However, while serving my sentence, toast was brought around the wing by kitchen workers and you got two slices with butter and jam. This could due to COVID and breakfast packs were still given in the evening

    You sometimes get a carton of chocolate milk with your lunch or evening meal (normally on weekends)

    With the breakfast packs you receive some terrible tea bags that nobody drinks (they’re cheap and nasty), a carton of UHT milk, sugar, whitener and coffee. Coffee was also given out on certain days as a treat. (A week’s worth of Maxwell House sachets which aren’t too bad)

    On Wednesday evening with our meal we were served a bowl of rice pudding on top of the usual snacks.

  • nicola says:

    Hey Anon user – I’m doing research into prison food for a TV drama, based and set in Leeds
    I’ve got some questions about what the food is served on or in – is it plastic plates and bowls, or segmented trays?
    Did you have cutlery for the main meal, was it plastic?
    What did the breakfast pack come in, was it given to you in a sealed bag, or paper bag or something?

    • Ryan Jarvis says:

      Hello Nicola,

      Thank you for posting on the Hub. We wanted to see whether you are still conducting research in this area? We are happy to share something on social media to see if any of our users are interested in contributing?

      Please feel free to send me an email anytime at [email protected].

      All the best

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