Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Food and Nutrition in Correctional Institutions

You're all invited to join us for a special event on Food Day, Oct. 24, 2011, at UC Hastings. If you're interested in food and social justice, especially in the context of prisons, that's the place to be!

The UCSF / UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy is sponsoring a conference entitled “Food Deserts: Legal, Social and Public Health Challenges” on Food Day, October 24, 2011 with keynote speech by Dr. David Kessler, former Commissioner of the FDA. The conference will bring together scholars from the health sciences and the law, as well as policymakers, activists, and food industry members, to discuss two important aspects of “food deserts,” places where access to a nutritionally-adequate diet is severely restricted.

One panel, "Nourishing Our Neighborhoods: Insights from Law, Planning, and Industry," will cover the broad issue of geographical food deserts, usually urban areas inhabited by mostly-poor people whose transportation and finances are limited, where food sellers are predominantly small stores that cannot stock a wide variety of fresh food items, and where full-service grocery stores hesitate to locate. Are there policies (such as those in zoning rules) that could be changed to enable oases in these food deserts? What impact does, for example, the addition of a full-service grocery store have on the health of the neighboring area?

Another panel, "Food and Nutrition in Correctional Institutions," will consider issues relevant to prisons and jails. While food offerings must meet certain basic caloric and nutritional requirements, the institutional nature of food preparation and food service might make that food less than appealing, and the healthier elements of meals might well be those not regularly or fully consumed. The supplemental food offerings – those for sale in these institutions – are not likely to be nutritious. Some research suggests that improved nutrition in prisons leads to improved penal outcomes. If that is so, what policy changes should be implemented? Would such changes be cost-beneficial, considering penal outcomes and the government’s responsibility for health care of prisoners?

Our panelists for the prison panel will include doctors, legal scholars, CDCR personnel, and people running organic garden programs in prison. It's going to be a fascinating panel.

At 5 pm, Dr. David Kessler, former Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration and Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF, will give the keynote address on The End of Overeating.

The event is free and open to the public, but requires registration. We will be offering CME and CLE credits for attending doctors and lawyers, respectively.

RSVP through the UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium or
RSVP through the Food Day website

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