Charity Chin Yin
Description of Target Population
The target population being assessed is female prison inmates who are scheduled for release in three months. Prison is a place where people are being restricted to everything and where they lose their freedom, movement, and access to everything as a punishment. It is a place where people will go when they commit a crime. According to Bureau of Justice Statistic, in the year of 2015, there were 73,645 female inmates’ admissions in National Statistics in the United States, 4,675 in Federal prison, and 9,884 in the State prison of Texas (1). Statisticians, Geenfeld and Snell, from Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) mentioned that the majority of the females involved with the justice system are at least completed high school and graduates with an estimation of 60% of those on probation, 55% of those in local jails, 56% of those in State prisons, and 73% of those in Federal prison. In addition, 30%-40% of high school graduates have attended some college or more (2). A key informant. Steve Talbert, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider in Lubbock’s juvenile, mentioned that the juvenile offenders in Lubbock county are mostly from the age of 20 to 28 (3). However, based on the BJS Statisticians for females who are in both State and Federal prisons, is it estimated that 1 in 5 women on probation or in local jails are under age 25; 1 in 8 State prisoners and 1 in 11 Federal prisoners are of age 25. Furthermore, nearly a quarter of Federal prison inmates are at least 45 years old (2). According to the percentages on specific ethnicities, Blacks and Hispanics were imprisoned at higher rates than Whites in all age groups. About two-thirds of women under the probation are white and nearly two-thirds of those confined in local jails and State and Federal prisons are the minority – Black/African, Hispanic, and other races. Hispanics account for about 1 in 7 women in State prisons but nearly 1 in 3 female prisoners in Federal custody (2). During the research, it was hard getting the latest result; however, during the year 2007, there were 60% of the women prisoners were not employed full time when they were arrested, and 37% had incomes under $600 in the month leading up on their arrest, and nearly one-third (30%) of women were receiving welfare benefits prior to their arrest (4).
Assessment of Nutritional Needs
According to Steve Talbert, the key informant, he mentioned that the inmates do not have access to nutritious food items, all they have are mainly canned vegetables and under-cooked chicken, even so they only have 15min-30min of meals time (3). The inmates have to eat while they walk so that they manage to finish their meals on time (3), thus having poor nutritional status and poor health when compared to the general population (5). According to some studies, The United States prison inmates shows poor intake of vitamin D (5), because they are confined in their cells most of the time. Due to the lack of vitamin D, it links the inmates to other health problems such as poor skeletal health, lower muscle strength, low bone mineral density, osteoporosis, and fracture (5). Inmates have a very strict and limited time; therefore, they do not have much physical activity which causes chronic diseases. Based on Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2011-2012, half of state and federal prisoners and local jail inmates reported having a chronic condition (including cancer, high blood pressure, stroke-related problems, diabetes, heart-related problems, kidney-related problems, arthritis, asthma, and cirrhosis of the liver) among all the prisoners, however females were more likely than males to report ever having a chronic condition (6). Majority of the prisoners (74%) and jail inmates (62%) were overweight, obese, or morbidity obese (6). In addition, it is also known that the health of the inmates deteriorated along with the length of stay in jail. The author from Medical Daily mentioned that the meals in prisons contains very little nutrition, low cost, and taste badly (7). “Prison systems have a lengthy history of poor food quality as 95% of uneaten food is not thrown out, but rather frozen and reserved up to seven days after it was first distributed to the inmates; meals lack basic dietary necessities, and fruits and vegetables are absent from inmate trays otherwise asked for due to budget cuts” (7). The prisoners’ diets are lacking of macronutrient, micronutrient, and the basic daily requirements. According to Medical Daily, the reporter’s analysis of the menu from the prison concludes that the prisoners are missing of leafy greens, fiber, whole grains, heart-healthy fats, and other viral nutrient (7). Instead of three meals a day, only two were served with about 10 to 14 hours apart (8). The inmates have do not have a choice to choose the food they want and in order to stay full throughout day, they have to eat whatever that is being served to prevent hunger. Many inmates reported that they could not sustain and ended up eating toothpaste, toilet paper, licking syrup packets and drinking excessive amounts of water to combat their hunger. Some even claim that the portions they received are not even enough to fill a five-year-old child (8). However, in Texas law, it is required for inmates to be fed three times in 24 hours but it only applies to county jail inmates and not state prisoners; however, it does not mandate that prisons offer inmates three meals a day (8).
Implications for Nutrition Education
A vast majority of female prisoners have the thought of whether they will have enough food for themselves or for their families due to their incarceration. Half of them were incarnated most of their life and did not know what had happened outside those walls, so they might not know how to shop and where to get food, lack the skills to cook a meal, and do not know anything about food assistance programs. They were so used to having people to cook for them and because of restricted time they were not able to have much physical activity. The usage of literacy sources such as nutritional pamphlets and recipes could enable the prisoners to cultivate a healthy diet with regular physical activities. preventing them from any nutrition-related chronic disease and help them to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “Implementing and developing intervention that focuses on skill building and developing healthy lifestyle that incorporate good nutritional practices and physical activity” (9).Â Implementing education program on portion sizes and calorie estimation, healthy food purchasing with budget, cooking classes and even food sanitation classes, as well as focusing on healthy eating with a balance diet helps decrease the risk of chronic disease In summary, a curriculum for this target population should include lessons on nutrition and childhood nutrition (portion sizes, nutritional balance and choice of food), skill in relation to cooking, budgeting, purchasing, and preparing (safe food handling practices and procedures), and also physical activity habits.
There are several federal aid programs that distribute in Lubbock Texas that are eligible for women. These are the few programs that can provides and assists those who are struggling at no cost. One of the program is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that is available to female adults who struggles to buy food. This program is eligible for those who meet the requirements based on household size, income, assets, housing costs, work requirements, which is mainly for low-income individual and families (10). The purpose of this program is to improve the low-income households by increasing access to food or food-purchasing ability (10). This program can apply through the USDA official website which is https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap (11) or https://www.yourtexasbenefits.com/Learn/Home (12) for the state of Texas, and even locally at Lubbock South Plains Food Bank by contacting them at (806)-686-1317 or https://www.spfb.org/welcome_to_snap (13).
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Another program is Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). If a woman is pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum with infants or with children under the age of five, assessed by qualified health professional that they are nutritionally at risk, and meet the income standard at or below 185% of the poverty guidelines, then she is eligible to participate in the WIC program. The purposes of this program are to provides nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, nutrition education and counseling, screening or referrals to other health care, welfare, and social services to those who got accepted (10). This program is available nationwide, statewide, and locally. There are four locations in Lubbock, women can find out more about this program by contacting the local office at (806)-907-0080 (14). If more information about local food stamps is needed, Lubbock Health and Human Services Office is available at (806)-744-7632 (15).
- Carson, E. Ann. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Number of admissions of sentences female inmates to state or federal prison, 1978-2015). National Prisoner Statistics Program. Website. Available at www.bjs.gov. Accessed February 27, 2017.
- Greenfeld, A. Lawrence and Snell, L. Tracy. Women Offenders. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. U.S. Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Revised 10/3/2000. Pp. 14. Website. Available at https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/wo.pdf. Published December 1999. Accessed February 28, 2017.
- Key Informant, Steve Talbert, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider (LSOTP). Interviewed on February 24, 2017.Telephone: (806)-577-7924. Interviewed on February 24, 2017.
- The Sentencing Project, Research and Advocacy for Reform. Women in the Criminal Justice System, pp. 3. Website. Available at http://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Women-in-the-Criminal-Justice-System-Briefing-Sheets.pdf. Published May 2007. Accessed February 27, 2017.
- Benjamin Udoka Nwosu, Louise Maranda, Rosalie Berry, Barbara Colocino, Carlos D. Flores Sr., Kerry Folkman, Thomas Groblewski, and Patricia Ruze. The Vitamin D Status of Prison Inmates. Website. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3944727/. Published: March 5, 2014. Accessed February 27, 2017.
- Laura M. Maruschak, BJS Statistician, Marcus Berzofsky, Dr.P.H., and Jennifer Unangst, RTI International. Medical Problems of State and Federal Prisoners and Jail Inmates, 2011-12. U.S Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, and Bureau of Justice Statistics. Revised October 4, 2016. Website. Available at https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/mpsfpji1112.pdf. Published: February 2015. Accessed February 28, 2017.
- Samantha Olson. Medical Daily. Aug 27, 2015. Website. Available at http://www.medicaldaily.com/1-week-prison-food-diet-reveals-problems-inmate-meals-low-cost-bad-taste-and-349572. Accessed February 28, 2017.
- Alysia Santo and Lisa Iaboni. What’s in a Prison Meals? The Marshall Project. July 7, 2015. Website. Available at https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/07/07/what-s-in-a-prison-meal#.PCevh6rcc. Accessed February 28, 2017.
- Jennifer Decker and Jigna Dharod. Nutrition Education Needs of Women Being Released from Prison. Maine Nutrition Network, USM. USDA, Food Stamp Nutrition Education, 2006. Website. Available atÂ https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/snap/resourcefinder/WomenReleasedFromPrison.pdf. Accessed March 1, 2017.
- Boyle Marie A. Community Nutrition in Action: An Entrepreneurial Approach 7th ed. Boston, MA; pp 389-393. Textbook. Published 2016. Accessed March 1, 2017.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Available at https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap. Published January 30, 2017. Accessed March 1, 2017.
- Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Your Texas Benefits. Available at: https://www.yourtexasbenefits.com/Learn/Home. Accessed March 1, 2017.
- South Plains Food Bank. Welcome to Snap. Available at: https://www.spfb.org/welcome_to_snap. Accessed March 1, 2017.
- Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas WIC. Available at: http://texaswic.dshs.state.tx.us/wiclessons/english/zipcodelocator/. Accessed March 1, 2017.
- Food Stamps Offices: Nationwide Office Search. Lubbock Health and Human Services Office. Available at: http://www.foodstampsoffices.com/lubbock-tx/. Accessed March 1, 2017
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