Alcatraz was a maximum security prison with minimum privileges. However, food and medical care were not regarded as privileges compared to other prisons in the United States. All inmates were given access to necessities, and they also had really good food. But did you know why the warden on Alcatraz finds it important to serve good meals to the inmates?
The food was so good at Alcatraz Prison that the guards and prison staff ate the same meals as the inmates. This was because the warden believed bad food was the root of most problems in prison.
What were Inmate Meals Like in Alcatraz?
The culinary offerings are almost as strange as the history. Should you have expected anything less? Take a look at this 1946 Alcatraz prisoner food menu below. We’ve all seen the movies where a correctional officer scoops a pile of grey sludge onto a dish. But this was not what inmates had in Alcatraz, no way.
According to the FBI, Al Capone, an American gangster, was involved in illegal brewing, distilling, and distributing beer and liquor in Chicago during Prohibition. He also developed interests in legitimate businesses in the cleaning and dyeing field and cultivated influence with receptive public officials, labor unions, and employees’ associations, according to the Colosimo mob, of whom he was the boss.
We can’t speak for how good the food was, but the items appear outrageously classy for a prison.
According to the Discovery Family Channel show Secrets of America’s Favorite Places, Alcatraz was well-known for its tasty federal prison food. Because of Alcatraz’s dark history, it’s hard to believe anyone was eating watermelon or hot griddle cakes, but the menu is authentic.
Even more intriguing, the guards and prisoners would dine together, eating the same food. In other words, they were all on the same page regarding eating habits. (Source: So Yummy)
Why Did Alcatraz Have Such Good Meals?
Alcatraz’s prison warden believed that the majority of trouble in prison was caused by bad food. That would also explain why guards and staff ate the same food as the inmates, which was good.
The food at Alcatraz was seen as a way to boost morale among the inmates; quality was also kept high to avoid unnecessary disputes in the dining hall. Supervisors reviewed prison menus regularly.
Prisoners ate cafeteria-style and could have seconds if there was food left over. This supports this because it meant that no food went to waste. Imagine how many leftovers there would be if prisoners were only allowed one serving. There’s enough for croquettes!
Their meals were also varied to ensure adequate nutritional intake, which is quite impressive. However, this makes more sense considering that the prisoners were not the only ones who ate it. So were the guards and the staff, who probably wouldn’t want to work somewhere where the food was bland mush.
Produce came from nearby San Francisco, and freshwater was delivered by boat to the island and stored in massive tanks. They didn’t mess around when it came to caring for the people they were responsible for. (Source: So Yummy)
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