How do you change a hardened criminal into a useful citizen?
Take away his candy bars.
No it isn't a joke. It's part of a revolutionary change in the diet of our jail and prison populations that's taking place in at least 42 states.
It's the result of a groundbreaking-and ground-shaking-study of what happened when the diet of 276 teenage boys jailed in a Virginia detention center was altered to exclude the huge amounts of white sugar they had been consuming.
After fruit juices replaced colas and carrots replaced cookies, antisocial behavior began to plummet, finally dropping a full 48 percent, and there was an 82 percent drop in assaults. Because the staff members who provided the information did not even know there was a study under way, there's no chance that a desire to see the project work influenced the results.
Can it be that there's a biochemical basis for crime? Mounting evidence suggests a strong link. A study of 318 Ohio convicts found 252 of them suffering from vitamin deficiencies and other signs of poor diet.
Those who remained on a new healthy diet after leaving jail had few problems with the law.
And in Pierce County, Washington, adult offenders fed nutritionally wholesome food as part of an experimental program returned to to a life of crime only a third as often as their fellows who'd continued on the standard jailhouse fare.
How Sugar Was Cut From The Prison Diet
1. All canned fruit packed in syrup was rinsed in water before being served
2. Fruit juices replaced soft drink mixes and lemonade
3. Sugar was taken off the table and replaced with honey
4. Molasses was substituted for sugar in recipes
5. Candy bars, cakes, pies, cobblers, pudding, etc. yieled to fresh fruit and snacks such as peanuts, cheese, popcorn, peanut butter and celery
6. Breakfast cereals with high sugar content were eliminated
7. Iced tea was served unsweetened
Note from Steve.
I took a picture of this article in a book called, Emotional Health. The Prevention Total Health System. By Prevention Magazine. No mention of the Authors name.
I haven't found the original article online or much information on this research. It's does make lots of sense to me that this would work. What do you think?