Dear Mr. Severin,
I read about your plan to rehabilitate female inmates through mindfulness exercises and yoga and wanted to make a suggestion that could further help them embrace nonviolence: switching to nutritious vegan meals in your correctional facilities. Not only would providing vegan food honour one of the driving principles of yoga — ahimsa, doing no harm — by sparing animals’ lives, it could also help improve the health of the women in your facilities while decreasing long-term healthcare costs. Numerous top studies have shown that a plant-based diet significantly reduces the risk of obesity and cancer and can even reverse heart disease and diabetes. What’s more, a well-planned vegan diet provides all the nutrients that a person needs at a fraction of the cost of meats and cheeses.
There would also be reductions in freezer costs and food waste, since most vegan ingredients can be shipped and stored without refrigeration. Maricopa County Jail in Arizona switched to all-vegetarian food for its 8,000 inmates and reported a saving of US$273,000. In 2015, I went there with representatives of PETA U.S. to serve lunch to the prisoners, who were impressed by the freshness and quality of the food.
I hope you use this suggestion as one way to reform the female correctional system in New South Wales.
PETA and I would be happy to work with your team to create a low-cost meal plan for your facilities.