Prisoners at top security jails get smoothies and lentil burgers at New Year

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Prisoners at high security jails will be served up healthy food including iced mango smoothies and lentil seed burgers on New Year’s Day. 

Roast pork, salmon and braised steaks with baby potatoes are also on the January 1 menus at five men’s prisons in England which hold some of the country’s most dangerous offenders.  

At HMP Frankland, the selection includes ‘cheatin’ beef stroganoff’ for the vegan option and a halal diced pepper beef casserole.  

A ‘healthy option’ is salmon and sauce, with all the dishes having the choice of trimmings including roast potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts and gravy. 

The dessert selection for tomorrow’s lunch serving at the jail in County Durham is apple crumble and custard or fruit cocktail, with vegan pasties and tuna mayo rolls among the tea time offerings. 

The prison, which is classed as Category A, meaning it houses inmates who pose the most threat to the public, the police or national security, has a seasonal menu decorated with pictures of Santa Claus.

One of the most infamous prisoners was the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, before his death in November 2020.

Serial killer Levi Bellfield, who is serving two whole-life sentences for the murders of three people, is among the current inmates.

At HMP Manchester, a neatly-arranged grid menu with signs denoting dietary requirements invites prisoners to place ticks against their orders.

The dishes include braised steak cooked in the oven with onions served with baby potatoes and vegetables and diced chicken marinated in Indian spices with boiled rice and naan bread.  

Dessert at the Category A and B jail is a mango and orange iced smoothie.  

The jail’s list of notorious inmates over the years has included Britain’s most prolific serial killer Harold Shipman, who was held there before his trial, and Moors murderer Ian Brady. 

Inmates at HMP Wakefield can choose from dishes including a lentil mixed seed burger and bun, vegetable lasagne and a halal chicken leg, with sides of chips and peas. Vegan, meat or tuna baps are available for tea at the Category A jail in West Yorkshire. 

Food packs have been arranged for inmates, including one for vegans which consists of lotus biscuits, a packet of crisps, juice, a coffee drink, a caramel apple traycake and fruit. 

Prisoners at the jail include murderer Jeremy Bamber, who killed five members of his own family, black cab rapist John Worboys and Roy Whiting, who murdered Sarah Payne.  

At Belmarsh, a no-thrills grid menu lists choices including a vegan pie, roast pork, southern fried fish and chicken balti for the first evening meal of 2023. 

The Category A jail’s black-and-white list uses capitals to warn inmates not to write on or damage the edges of the form as it will not be able to be read by a computer. Cake and custard or rice are the afters listed at the jail in Thamesmead, east London.  

Current and past inmates include Soham killer Ian Huntley, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the great train robber Ronnie Biggs and Henry Long, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, the three killers of PC Andrew Harper.

At HMP Full Sutton the new year’s lunch menu has options including halal roast chicken leg, soya mince chilli and chicken or vegan mushroom stroganoff. Trimmings at the Category A and B prison include roasted potatoes, rice, peas and sweetcorn and gravy. 

For tea, the kitchen has arranged items including deli ham, vegan cheese and roasted nut salad and pickles and beetroot salad.

Dessert at the prison in the East Riding of Yorkshire is a choice between a piece of melon with vegan flapjack or a fruit pie with strawberry ice cream.

The menus were released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) under the Freedom of Information Act after a request by

While festive provisions have been made at the jails, chances for inmates to socialise have been limited over the past two years.  

In January, The Howard League for Penal Reform said that prisoners in England and Wales had spent long periods locked in cells during Covid as reduced regimes were implemented in a ‘failing, overcrowded system’.

In its response to the Freedom of Information request, the MoJ said: ‘Meals in prisons over Christmas are paid for from within the existing budget and at no extra cost to the taxpayer. 

‘Prison rules require that prisoners are provided with three meals a day that are varied and nutritious and that meet the religious, cultural, and medical needs of all. His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service is working closely with catering managers and suppliers to ensure best value for money at a time of rising food prices.’  

The daily allowance for a prisoner is £2.02 per day. 

The MoJ maintains that in line with the new increased financial responsibilities governors have, the amount spent on food, including for religious occasions, is a decision made locally. 

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