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Honey buns sweeten life for Florida prisoners
January 10, 2011 8:59 PM   Subscribe

Meet the new form of prison currency: Honey buns.
posted by reenum (56 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Whew. I thought that was going in a soap-on-a-rope direction. But it's only bad food being served to the disenfranchised. Wait, which is worse?
posted by madred at 9:03 PM on January 10, 2011


rule 1#
when you hit the yard after isolation and someone tells you to deliver some stamps to that guy over there, give them a Honey bun.
posted by clavdivs at 9:04 PM on January 10, 2011


Can't believe people kill each other over these. On the other hand, it's murder. Tasty, tasty murder.
posted by reenum at 9:06 PM on January 10, 2011


rule #2
if you see a corrections officer buying alot of cigerettes and chew. demand a cut.
posted by clavdivs at 9:08 PM on January 10, 2011


"I crave honey buns. I buy honey buns," he said. "I can't buy no wine."

Man where is Robert Johnson when you need him.
posted by griphus at 9:08 PM on January 10, 2011 [26 favorites]


How unbelievably sad.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:10 PM on January 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


Jesus, it's just like middle school.
posted by cmoj at 9:18 PM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


I dunno. A short burst of sugar and fat right to the stomach and the brain. I guess there are worse things they could be trading in.
posted by bardic at 9:26 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, the lady gaga thing makes sense now. I thought it was just a tarantino in-joke.
posted by yesster at 9:27 PM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why do I open and read a story that I have just been told is about the pathetic token consumerism allowed to the most disenfranchised people in America? I know I'm just going to be bummed out it about five minutes. And so I was.
posted by nanojath at 9:28 PM on January 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


This isn't a story about honey buns. They buried the lede:
A day's meals inside the mess hall must be hearty enough to meet the 2,750-calorie count, healthy enough to limit fat and sodium, easy enough for prison cooks to prepare and cheap enough to meet the state's average grocery bill — about $1.76 per inmate per day.
The bit I quoted there is the only important paragraph in the story, and they stuck it seven paragraphs in. I would gladly pay the higher taxes required for humane prison conditions and anyone with a lick of sense would, too.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:30 PM on January 10, 2011 [16 favorites]


You Can't Tip a Buick: "This isn't a story about honey buns. They buried the lede:
A day's meals inside the mess hall must be hearty enough to meet the 2,750-calorie count, healthy enough to limit fat and sodium, easy enough for prison cooks to prepare and cheap enough to meet the state's average grocery bill — about $1.76 per inmate per day.
The bit I quoted there is the only important paragraph in the story, and they stuck it seven paragraphs in. I would gladly pay the higher taxes required for humane prison conditions and anyone with a lick of sense would, too
"

Previously: Nutraloaf
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:36 PM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


A honey bun is the most filling thing sold at the prison commissary. A candy bar or a packet of peanuts is gone in a couple of minutes. A honey bun can last a good hour or so. And then you're full until chow time.

See, behind bars, you are ALWAYS HUNGRY. You NEVER get a full belly. There are no second helpings. You eat fast, while it's still warm, and you're done in three minutes.

Honey buns are the most substantial food you can actually acquire between chow times.

This article is only surprising to people who've never been incarcerated.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:42 PM on January 10, 2011 [37 favorites]


Well, now I have a bit context for this.
posted by Iridic at 9:43 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Previously: Mackerel (which enabled me to make this joke, which still makes me giggle)
posted by brundlefly at 9:43 PM on January 10, 2011


Saw this story posted on Fark the other day, and read it out loud to my sweetie as we were getting ready for bed. We decided it meant that when your world is so small, cruel, and devoid of pleasure, that little things can mean a lot.
posted by squalor at 9:44 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


a hundred and one pounds of fun
posted by The Whelk at 9:46 PM on January 10, 2011


love the subtitles
posted by clavdivs at 9:48 PM on January 10, 2011


But it's only bad food being served to the disenfranchised
code for "lost my burger joint"
posted by clavdivs at 9:52 PM on January 10, 2011


on earlier post, i stated us postage stamps are only currency allowed in our federal prisons. i will write as usual to an inmate in florida and ask him if honey buns are currency? when i sent a poor inmate a couple of us postage stamps for letter writing, the bureau of prisons returned my stamps saying no surface for licking allowed as they could be laced with say a drug. i thought "good idea", i never would have thought of that!
posted by tustinrick at 10:06 PM on January 10, 2011 [2 favorites]



This article is only surprising to people who've never been incarcerated.


Yeah, not many of them here at Metafilter.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:18 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nutraloaf, a feedlot melange of scraps that is so bad that it might be unconstitutionally bad. (previously)
posted by kid ichorous at 10:22 PM on January 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


This article is only surprising to people who've never been incarcerated.

The hell with ass-wiping habits or shoes on or off inside, that is a survey of Mefites I'd like to see. Three times for me but none in the last 23 years.
posted by vapidave at 10:59 PM on January 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Makes more sense that using mackerels.
posted by mullacc at 11:01 PM on January 10, 2011


tustinrick, your us postage stamps are always welcome in my canadian household!
posted by mannequito at 12:09 AM on January 11, 2011


You didn't need to say that if it was obvious.

Right. Gotcha.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:14 AM on January 11, 2011


You Can't Tip A Buick- that is what stuck out for me in the article. $1.76 for three meals a day? What can you buy in the US for 60 cents? In the UK you'd be lucky to even get a Twix for that nowadays. It's a despicably paltry amount.

So I read the article and read the stuff about the Nutraloaf above and then clicking on links through to this guy. I know things are fraught in Arizona right now, but when, as an outsider, you read about vindictive crooks like him running things, I get a slightly better understanding of the culture that horrific acts emerge in. Honestly, in the UK, for all it's myriad faults, prison brutality among it, Arpaio would be a ranting Daily Mail article-commenter on the website- there is NO WAY he would be in charge of any thing.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 12:32 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hmm, horrific acts emerge in all cultures, obviously, I should have worded it better.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 12:36 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I would gladly pay the higher taxes required for humane prison conditions and anyone with a lick of sense would, too."

The thing I don't understand is these prisoners are forced to work, their jobs involve creating useful products with real value, they're paid next to nothing, they use most of their meager pay to buy honey buns and cigarettes, and yet prisons are still an immense tax burden?

Are there public audits of the US prison system?

It seems if you you've got a team of 3000 people working for you, you should be able to create enough capital to pay for decent living conditions.

Ah... I think it's a good idea to undertake a national audit of the prison system,
because if this is any indication, then we've got a honey bun trail to follow.
posted by lemuring at 12:39 AM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Zephyrhills is an interesting name for a correctional facility.
posted by Neofelis at 12:48 AM on January 11, 2011


Honey buns give me the runs.
posted by hypersloth at 1:01 AM on January 11, 2011


"$1.76 for three meals a day?"

When you consider how many millions of Americans are in jail and factor in an economy of scale, you could actually do pretty well for that amount.

Not saying the system isn't broken in general, but from what I've heard you're more than likely to gain weight in jail rather than lose it.
posted by bardic at 1:22 AM on January 11, 2011


bardic: gaining weight doesn't mean you're eating good food.
posted by dubold at 2:04 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sure Gus Honeybun is mixed up in this somehow.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:46 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe prisons need gardens like schools. Use raised gardens loose engineered soil, no implements would be required. Spinach, lettuce and other greens which could be easily identified and difficult to make into alcohol or weapons.
posted by humanfont at 2:52 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The bit I quoted there is the only important paragraph in the story, and they stuck it seven paragraphs in. I would gladly pay the higher taxes required for humane prison conditions and anyone with a lick of sense would, too.

In the thoughtful, liberal minority, perhaps. I get the impression (at least in the UK, but I'd be surprised if it's any different in the US), that there'd be more people with the opinion that prison is too comfortable and not punishing enough.
posted by acb at 3:07 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe prisons need gardens like schools. Use raised gardens loose engineered soil, no implements would be required. Spinach, lettuce and other greens which could be easily identified and difficult to make into alcohol or weapons.

The labour would also be more likely to contribute to rehabilitation.

Unfortunately, it would take business away from a lot of correctional-services suppliers, who wield a lot of lobbying power, and is unlikely to happen. In fact, anything that reduces recidivism is bad for profits.
posted by acb at 3:10 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think I speak for many of us when I say that I regret blowing all my honey puns in that other thread the other day. I got nothing here.
posted by No-sword at 4:21 AM on January 11, 2011


Zephyrhills is an interesting name for a correctional facility.

Why? The Orient Road Jail is on Orient Road, the Land O Lakes Correctional Facility is in Land O Lakes and the Zephyrhills Correctional Facility in Zephyrhills. I'm curious why this is odd.

But honey buns. Oh my, it's been a while. Friends sometimes ask me, since I've been out of the States for awhile, what are the things that I miss? Any foods? I usually answer, "well, it would be nice to get a good pickle spear with a deli sandwich, but other than that, no, not really." But damn if I don't want a honey bun right about now. That and a Chick o Stick. Brings me right back to middle school that does. I can totally understand why this has become a prison currency. Chick o Sticks would be too, if they sold them.
posted by mosessis at 4:32 AM on January 11, 2011


That was genuinely interesting for a local news human interest story, like something you'd see in the Talk of the Town section in the New Yorker. Though it definitely could've used some more imaginative structuring. Writer did his homework, that's for sure, but c'mon, ending the three middle sections with a money quote and then jumping to a completely different anecdote with no segue? Once, I could handle, but three? Almost makes me wish we hadn't decimated all the editors in the newspaper industry.

And agreed with acb. If anything, people are probably reading the article going, "They get three square meals a a day?! And dessert?! WTF!" For a politician, being hard on crime/prisoners is as foolproof of a vote-winning strategy as any, so long as prisoners don't get to vote and so long as the majority of your constituency never has to encounter the prison system (either themselves or family/friends). Can anyone think of a major politician who seriously advocated prison reform and was subsequently attacked for being soft on crime being re-elected? I remember stuff like when NY first reformed the Rockefeller Drug laws in 2002, and how politicians tried to head off the soft on crime talk by counterbalancing the reforms with new more stringent measures on other crimes. Seems like that's what you have to do to pass any reform on crime these days.
posted by jng at 4:53 AM on January 11, 2011


This article is only surprising to people who've never been incarcerated.
Or poor. Anyone who's been on a strict budget knows that honey buns give the most food-for-the-money of anything commonly available in a vending machine.
posted by MrMoonPie at 4:56 AM on January 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


Maybe prisons need gardens like schools. Use raised gardens loose engineered soil, no implements would be required. Spinach, lettuce and other greens which could be easily identified and difficult to make into alcohol or weapons.

I saw something a few weeks ago about a prison (somewhere in NY, I think?) that has a garden that's worked by the inmates. I don't know that they were generating significant amounts of produce, though; it seemed more aimed at providing a skill-building, rehabilitating experience than production.
posted by sriracha at 4:59 AM on January 11, 2011


I was just going to say that, MrMoonPie. 680 tasty calories for a buck.
posted by exogenous at 5:00 AM on January 11, 2011


The bit I quoted there is the only important paragraph in the story, and they stuck it seven paragraphs in. I would gladly pay the higher taxes required for humane prison conditions and anyone with a lick of sense would, too.

Look up the federal meal reimbursement rate for school lunches sometime.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:41 AM on January 11, 2011


This was remarkably depressing, and that's before taking into account how gross honey buns are.
posted by SMPA at 6:51 AM on January 11, 2011


They talk about honey buns being a currency, but from the (otherwise poorly written) article it doesn't sound like it's taken hold as a currency at all. It sounds like prisoners just like to eat them.

Mackerel, now there's a prison currency...
posted by rollbiz at 7:40 AM on January 11, 2011


It seems if you you've got a team of 3000 people working for you, you should be able to create enough capital to pay for decent living conditions.

Well there's you're problem. You're assuming that the wealth generated by captive labor is going to the prison. It goes to shareholders. After all, many US prisons are privately run.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:54 AM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe prisons need gardens like schools.

What you're looking for is The Sustainable Prisons Project, a collaboration between The Evergreen State College and Washington State Department of Corrections.

Apparently Riker's Island also has Farm and Horticulture programs and a greenhouse.
posted by nTeleKy at 8:04 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The bit I quoted there is the only important paragraph in the story, and they stuck it seven paragraphs in. I would gladly pay the higher taxes required for humane prison conditions and anyone with a lick of sense would, too.
But only bad people go to prison, and they don't deserve any better!

Vengeance and redemption are practically mutually exclusive. Our society, unfortunately, is way too fond of vengeance. A significant chunk of the populations thinks prison isn't inhumane enough.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:30 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can't believe people kill each other over these. On the other hand, it's murder. Tasty, tasty murder.

The problem, of course, is that these activities always spill out onto the street and thence into culture at large. At our last coffee cathering one of our helpdeskers was shived later in the day by some members of accounting for taking the last cinnamon twist. Last year a junior executive got rubbed out after having some of the VPs hazenut creamer -- no suspects were ever apprehended. Rations were, of course, reduced: I'm shooting dice on break later today for creamer tubs.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 9:35 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I get the impression (at least in the UK, but I'd be surprised if it's any different in the US), that there'd be more people with the opinion that prison is too comfortable and not punishing enough."

BUT PEOPLE ARE STILL COMMITTING CRIMES! WE MUST PUNISH THEM HARDER!
posted by klangklangston at 9:41 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anyone who's been on a strict budget worked in IT knows that honey buns give the most food-for-the-money of anything commonly available in a vending machine.
posted by LordSludge at 10:34 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would gladly pay the higher taxes required for humane prison conditions and anyone with a lick of sense would, too.

Or we could not lock up so many people for non-violent drug possession and then not run prisons as gruesome profit centers. Or as deadly, punitive concentration camps that breed even more violence and dysfunction. Maybe we could actually have rehabilitative prisons where we address mental illness and substance abuse.

In California, the cost of housing, feeding and providing medical care for long term to life term prisoners runs something like 40-50k a year per prisoner, and I believe that's on the low side. It would probably be cheaper and more effective to just house addicts and give them free drugs for life. And yet it would still be a prison.

PBS did a great documentary on the aging prison population in CA.
posted by loquacious at 2:54 PM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Maybe prisons need gardens like schools.

Surprisingly, the county sheriff in the small, rural Alabama county where I grew up has started an inmate-tended garden at the county jail. The produce goes first toward feeding the inmates; they're sure as hell happier to put a menu together of something other than the shoestring crap the State sends them, and they probably eat healthier than most of the locals. They either donate the surplus to local charities or shelters (inmates are allowed to even help deliver the goods) or sell. From what I hear, the prisoners are pretty damn proud of their garden and feeding themselves (and others!) with it, and, shockingly *cough cough*, the prison has had some encouraging results and positive responses to, y'know, treating the prisoners humanely and giving them an outlet for feeling like they're contributing to and part of the community.
posted by onebadparadigm at 12:15 AM on January 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it just me or is that "journalist's" snidey, smug dropping of the phrase "mise en place" in that article the most weasely, obnoxious, despicable and people-despising bit of outrageously gratuitious snobbery ever?
posted by runincircles at 4:19 AM on January 12, 2011


In most Alabama counties, if the sheriff feeds the inmates for less than the $1.75/day the state gives him, he gets to keep the "profits." The Morgan County sheriff was jailed (overnight!) for contempt of court after pocketing $212,000 over 3 years.
posted by fogovonslack at 2:32 PM on January 13, 2011


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