Florida inmate suing over “cruel and unusual” soy-based meals

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Thirty-four-year-old Eric Harris (also known as David Northrup), a convicted pedophile serving a life sentence at Clermont, Florida's Lake Correctional Facility, is suing the state prison system for replacing half of the meat in prison meals with soy substitutes, a real downer for those rapists, murderers, and pedophiles who don't happen to be vegan. The Washington-based anti-soy Weston A. Price Foundation, whose spokeswoman Kimberley Hartke said, "These men are guinea pigs who are being fed high levels of soy," will be covering the legal expenses, with an eye towards a class-action throwdown.

In 2009, the foundation started hearing from Florida prisoners who complained about health problems after 60-70 percent of meat in meals was swapped out for cost-cutting soy. Harris, no fan of the legume, claims that eating these processed and blended soy dishes with names like "southern BBQ," "meat loaf," and "meaty macaroni" constitute cruel and unusual punishment. (He actually said that.) For the record, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman said meals are half soy and half poultry, and the state currently spends $1.70 per inmate on their three daily hots.

Inmates can also opt for no-soy alternatives like dried beans or peanut butter, but around ninety percent choose the healthy, plant-based food. Harris argues that soy is dangerous to individuals with soy allergies and pre-existing gastrointestinal and thyroid conditions, but federal courts have ruled in other cases that prisons are only required to serve nutritious food, not meals that are "tasty or aesthetically pleasing."