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Vegan Diet Impacts California Prison

San Bernardino County, CA — In the late 90’s, amid rising crime rates and finite lockup space, the private prison industry was looking like a pretty lucrative business opportunity for anyone who could take advantage. Having received a dire report from Georgia-based prison design firm Rosser International Inc., San Bernardino County was expecting a shortfall in inmate beds and a doubling of their inmate population by the year 2020. Against this background, the County began accepting bids for a 500-inmate private prison. Terry Mooreland, CEO of Maranatha Private Corrections LLC was among the individuals who bid on the project. There was only one catch. Mooreland’s bid included a stipulation that if he was awarded the bid, inmates serving sentences at his facility would be offered a vegan diet. As fate would have it, Mooreland won the bid and in 1997 began to build what became the Victor Valley Medium Community Correctional Facility in Adelanto, California; which is about 120 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Once operational, this facility saw remarkable results for seven years, before a dispute over inmate phone revenue led the State of California to cancel their contract with Mooreland. It is unbelievable that something as silly as phone revenue could cause a State to end one of the most remarkable prison success programs in the country, where inmates

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got out and stayed out. At the time, the State of California had a recidivism rate of 95%. This is the percentage of former prisoners who are rearrested. The Victor Valley facility enjoyed a recidivism rate of less than 2%. So, what was the key factor behind this success? A vegan diet. Upon arrival, new inmates attended an orientation where they received two clear choices. They could live on one side of the prison which operated using the standard California Department of Corrections (CDC) guidelines and food menus; or, they could live on the side of the prison operated under the “NEWSTART” program which included a vegan diet, bible studies, job training and anger management. In a video-taped interview obtained by Vegetarian Spotlight, Victor Valley nutrition services coordinator Julianne Aranda explains that “what we eat not only affects us physically, but it affects our mental attitude, our aggressiveness and our ability to make good decisions”. In interview after interview it was clear that the NEWSTART program staff was in agreement that the mind and body must be cleaned up in order for the inmates to achieve positive behavioral changes. Initially, although the State of California was very supportive of the NEWSTART concept, they told Moorland they didn’t believe that even five inmates (of the 500) would accept that kind of a diet. In fact, they told Moorland that inmates would probably “burn the place down before they became vegetarians”. However, once the program was in progress, the opposite became true. On average, 85% of the inmates chose the NEWSTART side while only 15% chose the CDC program. The remarkable behavioral changes could even be seen outside in the prison yard where according to prison officials, nobody “owned”

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or controlled the yard. Typical lines drawn between blacks, whites, hispanics, gang members and other groups were non existent. On the NEWSTART side, everyone played basketball together and had great fellowship. The CDC side of the house had the same racial divisions experienced at any other prison. In testimonials, inmates assert that the surprisingly good-tasting food led them to feel better, have greater energy, increased stamina and reduced problems with acne. Indeed the effectiveness of a vegan vegetarian diet in rehabilitation has been scientifically validated. Although the State of California apparently preferred to pursue phone revenue over rehabilitated inmates, the success of the Victor Valley facility gives us something to think about. Could this kind of a diet help us in raising our children?

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98 Comments on "Vegan Diet Impacts California Prison"

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  1. Kelly says:

    I think that is a great idea and should be adopted by other prison facilities. God Bless your efforts.

  2. Geno Buck says:

    Why hasn’t this been distributed to State Officials in Michigan, and asked to be pushed by President Clinton who is rumored to have followed his daughters diet, vegan, and had a dramatic change around in his health?

  3. henry martin says:

    Really appreciated this. These people were rehabilitated and returned to society whole, rather than just warehoused and punished. The NEWSTART Lifestyle really works

  4. henry martin says:

    Good report. It has worked for me too.

  5. Osei Sefa says:

    Vegetarian/vegan diet is the original diet God prescribed for man before the flood. I eat fish and no other meat in my diet. I hope to eventually eliminate fish from my diet and become vegetarian.

  6. Peter says:

    Great! Thanks! Read a book years ago called ‘Diet, Crime, and Delinquency’ that stated similar principles. Such a shame that the gov’t shut down this facility. Every one of them should follow this.

  7. Helen Moyer says:

    This is amazing, but definitely not surprising. If only more prisons, and more people worldwide would adopt this diet program. It works, it really works.

  8. Tom K says:

    It was not the diet but the lifestyle of the NEWSTART system were the diet is only the first left. This is not a valid argument in the lest for a vegan or even a vegetarian diet but in the change of ones lifestyle.

    I agree in the benefits of healthy eating but that was only one part of it what happened here.

  9. Arla Nummelin says:

    I’ve heard about this happening years ago and wondered what ever happened to this prison. We need more like this!!!! Thank you for printing this article!

  10. Arla Henry says:

    Absolutely fabulous! I’m a Seventh-day Adventist and we believe in this NEWSTART lifestyle….it is sooo true. I’m working with this idea with a local mental institution and will forward this article on to them. Thanks so much!

  11. Rampal says:

    Good simple food generates good blood in the system leading to good thoughts. These thoughts make human beings think positively in a constructive manner.

    It will be a lot more wise to follow the system all thorugh the life.

  12. Marilyn says:

    You are what you eat…the Bible tells us our bodies are the temple of God. The Seventh-day Adventists have been followiing this diet for centuries!

  13. Kimmie says:

    Wow! This is inspiring to hear! I have been a vegetarian my whole life as I have grown up a Seventh-day Adventist. For the past year I have tried not being vegetarian and eating chicken fairly often. I’ve since gone back to being a vegetarian because the benefits were incomparable. My physical and mental health felt 10x better.

  14. Ceidre says:

    I can’t for the life of me understand why such a good and excellent programme and one that worked for all those years was suddenly stopped by the Government………..but on the other hand I have since learnt that ‘we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’, EPH 6:12. Every School, family, prison, hospitals etc needs to adapt this NEWSTART programme. PTL!!

  15. Gloria says:

    When God created man, the original diet was fruit, nuts, & herbs and Adam lived for a thousand years. After “the fall” and sin entered this world and man became so evil in thoughts & actions continually, God destroyed all living things with a world-wide flood. AFTER the flood, man was allowed to eat CLEAN (see Leviticus) meats and his lifespan dropped lower with every generation. If folks celebrate their 100th birthday, we think it’s a real achievement (and it IS!!), but if sin had not entered the world, we would have lived forever. We ARE responsible for keeping our bodies in the best possible condition, and eating nutritious vegetarian food is good for EVERY body. I’m glad to hear those prisoners discovered that what they eat, how they control their passions (anger mgm), and an attitude of graititude for God’s blessings will bring happiness to themselves as well as everyone around them. Such a shame the Government stopped it!

  16. Bev says:

    More important than the prisons, how about starting the better diet in schools and at home to keep them from getting there in the first place?! There is a school district in MI or WI that did just that a few years ago and although folks said kids would NEVER eat the healthy food, but they DID eat it. Grades went up, moral improved, and discipline issues began to evaporate, etc. Orange CA schools are following suite with similar results. We ARE what we eat. We eat junk, we become junk. GREAT article. By the way, being “vegetarian” doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. We have to be responsible for the quality of everything we put in our mouths, sugar being far more unhealthy than meat, but we tend to want to forget that.

  17. Justice Mvulo says:

    Wow i was touched by this report at the same time saddened not surprised by the Californian government’s reaction. For the Devil is at work and trying to abolish everything that restores man to his/her true natural state.

  18. Justice Mvulo says:

    Look I’m a young black African who lives in a small village in the Republic of South Africa, and I’m aspiring to be a vegetarian but it seems a bit difficult for me, as i have little knowledge about vegetarianism. I was wondering if is there anyone who can help me with some few recipes or some basic things i need to do to be a vegetarian. Please. I really wanna be like Daniel of ages.

    • Shez says:

      Hey Justice, I’m also in South Africa and have been Vegan for 7 years since Dec 2006. Gods Plan always works 🙂 it’s possible, even in RSA. I’ve attached a link to our blog so you can view or you can Google Optimum-Health-Outlook

  19. John says:

    Will somebody explain what this phone revenue issue was?

    • Debbie says:

      A lame excuse to stop the program because it worked. The prison system is a for-profit racket, that’s why.

  20. There are powerful interests behind the scenes that systematically counteract all things that are truly of God, that is, such things as are truly good for each and all in society. I have no doubt but that the phone issue was nothing but a smoke screen to hide the before said real reason. The problem is, How many among us forget to ask ourselves questions such as this one: What part responsibility do I have in the evil and destructive things happening in my society? What about my memberships? What about my citizenship? What about the taxes I am paying? What about the interest I am paying to the bank? What about my insurance fees? To what extent is my time and my money going towards maintaining non-vegan standard prison camps? Why am I willing to continue my support of such powers behind the scenes? Why am I, by so doing, making myself one of those powers behind the scenes? Consider it! Selah

  21. Cody says:

    Just like Jesus(God) Performed a miracle with Daniel that kept him healthy eating just vegetables. Perhaps the same is being done for these prisoners! All Glory to Jesus Christ!

    Or perhaps there vegan diet has no soy. Or are only eating the non toxic forms of soy such as miso, tempeh and natto

    I know of other prisons that feed inmates the toxic forms of soy such as this link shows.

    Non the less i believe Jesus is being preached in there Bible studies and with God all things are possible and them who Believe in Jesus are saved and that is the best thing you could ever do for someone and it is fruit that last’s for eternity! All Glory to Jesus Christ!

  22. David Grams says:

    Why did this prison get forced out of business? Ah! For those of us who work or volunteer in the prison system, it’s as obvious as snow in Minnesota! Rehabilitating is NOT the goal, generating profit and/or keeping jobs IS the PRIMARY reason for prison’s. Now, thankfully, this is slowly being turned around in places, notably Minnesota DOC (department of corrections) and a few others; but one only has to remember that in the 60’s California was THE premier and flagship model for prison’s everywhere. And how did the mighty fall? See above. When guarding jobs became more important than substantive and productive “guarding” of prisoners, then the structure of rehabilitation weakened, then swayed, and finally, collapsed in an ignominious heap…

  23. Raewyn Jones says:

    For sure the diet helped, but the other aspects of the option counted as well. Entering the Word of God will bring a reformation to the willing soul. The willingness to try something different, to make positive changes counts too. A change in attitude helps as well. Hopefully the whole option will catch on in other systems of correction etc and in other countries as well. Well done folks. Keep the option working.

  24. I’d like to see the menu and the recipes and some video footage. They have the choice of accepting or rejecting soy I guess ? Skeptic friend of mine showed me a story where inmates sued re soy. But way to go vegan diet! I’m starting out again. Wish me luck lol.

  25. Ms_Lena says:

    I teach in jail and would love to believe that the assertions made in this article were true. However, many of them are false which undermine the credibility of the entire article.

    My primary concern is the assertion that recidivism runs at 95%. Recidivism for California prisons is an alarming 65 % – 70% but that’s a big difference than 92%!?!?!

    Also I was REALLY bothered by the statement:

    Indeed the effectiveness of a vegan vegetarian diet in rehabilitation has been scientifically validated.

    Based on this one instance?!?!? Hello!!!! Hasn’t this writer heard of scientific protocol? Proof is never based on a single study – that is scientifically unreliable and unethical.

    My degree is in human development and I do agree that having control of one’s own diet can be huge towards self-actualization but so can manditory bible study, job training and anger management training classes. Statistically, the job training is the leading factor in reducing recidivism.

    I think studying dietary effects on inmates is worth further consideration but let’s move the future forward based on reality.

  26. Alberto says:

    Certainly excessive consumption of protein (meats) provokes aggresive behaviour. The more raw vegetables the better.

  27. Crystal says:

    You would think if something is working others would want to be a part of it not get rid of it. At least there are those who went through the program that will have appreciated it.

  28. Justice Mvulo contact me at there are plenty of vegans who will be only too happy to help you, including black Africans! Glad to hear you are trying to live a more compassionate, earthfriendly and healthy life!

  29. David Fishman says:

    The vegan diet has profound potential to revolutionize not only our public & private prison infrastructure, but the criminal justice system and crime statistics at the macro-level nationwide. I’m not surprised by the very positive results from this dietary change among inmates, but I don’t believe Bible studies should be mandatory for the NEWSTART program to succeed. If an inmate sincerely wants to become vegan, but is also an atheist or agnostic, she/he will be alienated by any program that compels her/him to accept superstition and factually baseless dogma in order to undergo bona fide reform. While this may not necessarily violate the Constitution’s 1st Amendment Establishment clause (assuming this occurs only in private prisons), the religious requirement still offends the conscience of anyone who wants to remain secular or neutral toward discussions of ultimate causality and still improve dietary and ethical practices in daily life on a spiritual level.

  30. Nikki says:

    Well the only thing i wish they left out was the Bible study…LOL but oh well.. hmmmm… I bet with the vegan diet they feel less angry it seem to help everything. not to mention for the sake of animal’s 🙂 I was Vegetarian for about 3 years before i went vegan.

  31. Danielle says:

    I am a Vegan. I have 3 Vegan children 2-6 years of age. Well mannered, mellow, they’ve sleep through the night from day one, and when I recovered in 2 weeks after giving birth to the first two and with my last child, on a raw Vegan diet I recovered in less than a week! I have been Vegan for going on 9 years. I haven’t been sick since I’ve gone Vegan. The children have got sick 2-3 times in their lifetime. We drink green smoothies every morning for breakfast. They don’t get jealous if I hold another child/baby, instead they cater to them. A book I recommend friendly to all types of healthier eating, The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder CN. I bought her book for everyone I know. Answers ALL your questions about food. IF you want to be successful and stay Vegan her book is the one to get, if you want to eat healthier her tips are great! It’s a lifestyle and truly the fountain of youth! Everyone deserves to be incredibly healthy, ridiculously gorgeous and glowing of sheer bliss ^_^

  32. JC says:

    Forget tougher punishments and hiring more police for schools. The solution to crime and violence is in your lunchroom.

  33. Ann says:

    As a long time vegetarian turned vegan 2 years ago, I can attest to these statements. There IS a fundamental change in one’s being, physically, spiritually, mentally and beyond, that by going vegan can only be experienced by each individual if and when they choose to change. After 6 months, cravings leave the body, after 2 years you have no idea how anyone can eat meat (i.e. kill and MURDER innocent animals) or drink secretions from other species. The clarity one gains is priceless, on the topic of food and every other important issue of one’s life. Watch the documentary Earthlings, it’s free online at their website.

  34. Shirley says:

    Those who quibble over whether Bible study should be part of the program, please remember that this whole program comes by CHOICE. No one is forced to change their life. But they know, to not change is to continue dwn the same road that landed them in a prison. I agree with Tom, who said it is nt just the diet that makes the difference, but the whole lifestyle. Diet plays an important part in mental state. So does experiencing the freedom of choosing to improve one’s life. So sad that the prison was closed, that choice was removed for those who would want to change their life. So who in California cares who their neighbors are? The majority of criminals will one day be released, and will be some of your neighbors! VOTERS! Use your rights and influence to give those inmates who desire to change–the OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THOSE GOOD CHOICES! Campaign and Vote — for your own protection!!!

  35. I happen to be a vegetarian although not a Vegan and do not choose to impose my ideologies onto others, but found this very interesting and certainly believe that how we eat affects both our physical and mental health and how we think about ourselves – thankyou

  36. Thank the Holy Spirit for the improvement made. I am a Christian vegan for the sake of God’s Kingdom to come on earth. It is simply great that the vegan way of life is spreading and even such prison is riping the good benefit of its application. The more people embrace the Christian vegan faith and practice the less evil in the world, the less suffering, crime, war, calamity, death and hellish things. Let us give all the credit to the miracle working, good results getting Holy Spirit for the success mentioned above. Please read: The Lord Christ Jesus Was A Vegan and The Christian Vegan Revised Psalms by Saba. Jesus Rules.

  37. Cathy says:

    I am now trying to change to a complete vegan. It isn’t an easy process, but can be done. I am also an avid believer in the NEWSTART program. Congrats to this organization, wish the government would pay attention and make Real changes in these prisoners lives. God bless!

  38. Chau Kelley says:

    i m inspired by this article! i think it is GREAT! agree with u guys that all prison in this country should adopt this paradigm shift! i think it would be also GREAT if our presidents, popes, religious leaders or important figures in our country or in the world could set good example for us all to look up to! :”)) but until then…i believe each and everyone of us do possess the eternal strength and power inside to begin this journey since we are all children of God. nothing can prevent us from TAKING ACTION own our own and not wait for others. Wise men said: CHANGING THE WORLD START WITH YOU! yes! i believe it profoundly true! by just changing our diet to become a vegan…we are fighting the biggest and bravest battle in the world…because we can say NO to everyone but ourselves usually…so…each time the crave of meat based food come up (could be several times or all the time each day! ;”))…u have a chance to stand up and say NO to yourself! that is the MENTAL STRENGTH that u r training yourself and it is the strongest power…not nuclear power, not guns, not knife, military etc…because the GREED in each of us that is the profound root causes of all SUFFERING in our life and the world including wars! therefore…by simply take this simple yet rocky path to become a vegan…u are changing the world everyday on your own directly…u r a silent hero with no medal nor recognitions in anyway or shape but the greater reward of true happiness in your heart is PRICELESS AND ENDLESS! :”))) being a vegan contributes great impact in many aspects of our life: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually for sure…but…talk is always cheap and easy…ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS! i hope everyone could be as loud as possible in this department! :”))

  39. Larissa Creelman says:

    I am a firm believer in NEWSTART as well and not so much in corporal punishment as I used to be. =] God is good and when we follow His principles in everything, we are truly blessed and that much more able to bless others!

  40. ras says:

    Blessed, the African way since time begun has always been a ital one(vegan).Only with the invasions,missionaries and enslavers were we forced to eat dead flesh and acidic man made foods, leaving our alkaline natural diet behind.Which has left my people in a hellish state.But the pedulum is turning and as the earth rotates we will return to the nature or the GODS that we are.BLESSED.

  41. vincent says:

    Do you know how much that farmer destroy rivers and streams because of growing Veges have you takenthat in acoount as all the wash of as theyuse pestercides , fertlisers and so on that washs into the rivers start to kill fish and other native animals , yet you herd of blue green algy what do you think thats from, and not only that if everyone became a vegetarian how do you think that we can water all the veges do you have any clue how much water you just need to grow patoes for instance , do reserch , Vegans are the ones who are destroying the PLanet , if we all ate meat and veges everyone would be balanced and healthy .

    AND THOSE WHO BELIVE IN CHRISTIANTY , Yeshua (Jesus) He ate Fish and he Ate Lamb for the Passover as a law you must Eat LAMB or Goat . And Yeashua (Jesus) Fed 5000 people on fish and barly bread and not only that he was a Fisher man as a trade .

  42. Michal Kolman says:

    to vincent (comment 41): Dear Vincent, I can see that you miss the point. All those plants and vegetables grow even though people eat meat – in a greater amount (to feed people as well as animals).

    Second, you talk about religion. Why do you connect religion with ethics or environment? These are different issues. Those who are religious do not have to follow every word written in the Bible/Tanakh/Quran or any other holy scriptures. That would be fundamentalist.

    What more, people should evolve as times change. We do not eat the same foods as people in Jesus times ate. And nobody (nor doctors) recommend eating this way. They recommend veganism as a healthier way.

  43. Sharon says:

    Actually, there is ample evidence that shows Jesus was vegan. The words & acts of Jesus “as written” in what we now call ‘the bible’ have been altered substantially since the original manuscripts (by the various authorities, many to match their agendas of power, control, greed and basic ‘enslavement’ of the masses).

    Anyone claiming the bible to be the unaltered ‘word of God’ ~desperately~ needs to ‘seek the truth’ about their own authority/book in the same detailed & thorough manner that they would the authority/book of any other religion they refer to as a “cult”. Very few of us (that call ourselves “christian”) have ANY IDEA how or why the Old Testament & Mosaic Law where ever added to the New Testament; how the various books of the bible were even chosen (and why, and who commanded it be done (and what his purpose was in doing it. see: Constantine the Great unifying his kingdom); why books in the New Testament contain admonishions that are totally contrary to Christ’s laws & commandments, let alone how these books have been altered from their original manuscripts over the centuries.

    Let us wake from our slumber and ‘the teachings of the church leaders’ and SEEK THE TRUTH as we were admonished!

    • valinva says:

      I suppose all that stuff about animal sacrifice and the passover lamb is just made up right? Jesus ate the passover meal which was meat from the lamb that was sacrificed. Jesus gave out fishes to feed the multitude when they were hungry. Jesus built a fire and cooked fish after the resurrection and gave it to the disciples. If the Bible cannot be trusted to be the inspired word of God as received through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, why would anyone follow any of it? If you get to decide the parts that you want to be part of your spirituality, why do you need a book at all, just make it up as you go.

  44. PollyTickle1 says:

    One private prison company won a bid here in Maine recently (not vegan). One of their legal stipulations was that the amount of ‘beds’ was not to fall below 95% full. So recividism was actually encouraged and putting new laws in place to put more people in jail is quietly pushed.

  45. Martin Matej says:

    That is just awesome to read 😉

  46. Christi says:

    This is a good article, but giving the vegan diet the sole credit for the success for the program is ridiculous. You forget it is a program… “the prison operated under the “NEWSTART” program which included a vegan diet, bible studies, job training and anger management.” No doubt eating healthy improved their mood and health, but it is a program geared toward improving mind, body and spirit. The whole body. All of these things combined worked together to make the program a success, not just what they ate. Please, if you want to make a point to support your lifestyle choices, be fair and include all the facts.

  47. Hcg diet doctor says:

    This is a great article! NJ needs to put the whole state on a vegan diet. Start with school lunches!

  48. MaryAnn says:

    I am in total agreement with a vegan diet. I am overweight, was over worked, and running around for my four children and husband. I began to eat better, lay off dairy, don’t eat meat, and exercise. As I began to lose weight, and still in the process of, I noticed I don’t yell at my kids, hardly ever. What we eat really does effect us.

  49. Trudi says:

    What a great scheme! Very disappointing that the inmates had bible studies forced upon them too, though. This scheme, minus the religious factor, is very promising. Even though, as some have pointed out, the vegan diet alone is not responsible for the success of the programme, it certainly would have had a positive effect on the inmates’ mood and energy, and education about the animal industries would probably also help some to tap into their compassionate and empathic sides, improving their attitudes and behaviour without all that unnecessary religious dogma.

    • Debbie says:

      I think it would have been more democratic to have a library full of different religious scriptures so inmates could choose what they were drawn to rather than be forced to subscribe to only one religion.

  50. George says:

    As a food service director at a Vegan health institute I volunteered some at the prison and heard personal testimonials that were exciting.

  51. Vegan Dave says:

    As a vegan of 18 years I definitely think food has a huge impact on how people feel and behave, but I wonder how much impact the job training, counseling, etc. had?

    What disturbs me about this is that in order to get vegan food and counseling and job training, inmates were forced to study a religion that not only may not be something they believed in, but has no basis in fact. In other words, they were forced to study a biased book filled with fiction that is based on worshiping a fictional deity. How insane is that!?

  52. What the world needs now, is love sweet love, no not just for some but for everone!

  53. kelly g says:

    WOW!!!!!!! That Should Be In Every Institute in the U.S.A. AMAZING !!!! Go California!!!!!!!

  54. CArolyn Puga says:

    I love this article but it did not forward the information when I pressed “like” on facebook… I wanted to share it with my 500 friends around the world who think vegetarians are nutz!! ha ha

  55. Dee says:

    Yes! definitely the diet to bring up kids on. Everyone will live in harmony. If you do not eat animal products your body, mind and spirit experience tranquility.

  56. MBK says:

    This should be done in all prisons. Being a vegan for 33 years, I’ve noticed this behavioral change in people and in dogs who are fed vegan. We can have a peaceful society if humanity adopted vegan living. This proves what we always thought in theory. We always believed that prisoners should be fed a vegan diet and that it would effect their temperament.

  57. Jon says:

    Too bad about the bible study part. Get rid of that and it sounds like a good program.

  58. One private prison company won a bid here in Maine recently (not vegan). One of their legal stipulations was that the amount of ‘beds’ was not to fall below 95% full. So recividism was actually encouraged and putting new laws in place to put more people in jail is quietly pushed.

  59. Veganforlife says:

    Fantastic, i hope it starts again and occurs globally. To achieve thsi there would have to be no agreement between government and private prison operators guaranteeing a minimum number of prisoners, this is a clear contradiction of government claimed goal to stop crime.

  60. Michael says:

    Certainly sounds like a great programme. It is hard to preach non violence while eating violence every day. I am a Christian myself, but I wonder whether it may have been better to have allowed study of other scriptures/religions/ethical systems as well as Bible studies.

  61. Melissa says:

    I totally agree with the comments that point out that if one program included job training and anger management and the other did not, it’s not surprising which program worked best to retrain people to seek out ways to support themselves and contribute to society, whatever diet or religion they may or may not adopt. Like any other study, there needs to be a control group to prove that diet alone (without job training, mood help, etc.) would make such a change and the author seems to conveniently miss this. It’s heartening that many readers clearly see this blind spot. It’s sad that prisons operate for profit only.

  62. jude says:

    i love the vegan part but i do not care at all for the bible part.that book has been changed and perverted and contains a lot of garbage that was written by evil and power hungry men.if you want to teach people about jesus,look for the gnostic gospels,the gospel of thomas or mary magdalene etc.also,there is a lot of evidence proving that jesus did not die and ressurect but rather,he was resuscitated and returned to India where he had been from ages 12-30.if this is true then the ridiculous idea that most christians have been promoting about him having sacrificed his life for the sins of man is totally false.

  63. rakel says:

    hola amigos
    me gusto sobre este tema..quisiera saber mas si alguien que es vegano me podria orientar en cuanto al balence de alimentacion..y como debe de ser..
    muchas gracias por au ayuda y respuesta Dios los bendiga

  64. Pastor Peter Sayers says:

    I was truly amazed that the New Start programme had such a wholesome effect on those prisoners serving in the Calafornia State Prison.The effects of which broke down prejudices amongst the different cultures and encouraged them to build up healthy relationships amongst themselves. I feel that such a life style should be offered as an optional to all the prisons in the world. This would greatly reduce the criminal activity; reduce the vast sums of money spent on those who re-offend and make this world a much safer place for all to live in.

  65. George says:

    To be honest, it was more than a vegan diet that made the difference. And this isn’t to diminish the huge significance this played in drastically improving the health of those there (they sought the sick for this purpose). But they also made Bible students out of them and in the process they became friends of God, and He is faithful to transform.

  66. Donna McDonald says:

    GREAT article! 🙂

  67. Nigel says:

    I think it’s great that they are offered a vegan diet and anger management but as a freethinker I’m not so keen on the bible studies, I hope these were optional. Given the choice though I think I would sit through Bible studies to get edible food. I haven’t eaten meat for 25 years, if for some reason I was sent to prison I would hunger strike if not given an ethical food choice.

  68. Debi says:

    My daughter has just recently become vegan. She says that it has changed her life…her well being and perspective. She is not a Christian..we left that religion long ago, although the choice as far as religion and belief was left up to my children, she has not returned to it. She does practice sprituality…namestae… and is very much encouraging me to try the vegan diet for mental and physical reasons…plus, she says that her psorisis, which runs in the family, has left her. She loves her new lifestyle. It is too bad that they shut this program down, but i agree with many above…do not force Bible Study, but any spiritual or psychological study that carries the morals of respect towards one another and each ones self along with the vegan diet would be interesting. they really do need to do greater study on each aspect of this Newstart Program.

  69. APD says:

    Vegan psychologist who has worked in a prison here. Attributing the effects of the whole program to diet alone is a total whopper, as many have pointed out. Job training and other learning are key factors. Further, if 85% of inmates really chose the rehab program (of which veganism is only one part), that would make for a lot of peer pressure (social norms), which is the largest single factor in influencing behavior.

  70. MANI says:

    NEWSTAR has given NEWLIFE to the inmates. I pray that prisons in all over the world would adopt this great idea.

  71. Absolutely enjoyed the article. I sure wish people would wake up to the realities of life. I can absolutely believe that a meat-based diet causes aggression in people and it seems to be getting worse.

  72. eric vandennoort says:

    i was an inmate at adelanto in 1999 i have been clean and sober since the day I walked out of therejuly1999 . Julianne Aranda was working and teaching us nutrition i have been clean and sober since i left over 13 years and am now a drug and alcohol counseler i woul be happy to come up and speak

  73. Strummer says:

    Fantastic news. I imagine it Iis a combination of diet and the rehabilitation that was also on offer. I’m not sure i agree with bible studies. Did they have a choice in that aspect?

  74. I am so disheartened that this program not only does not exist any longer, but that it hasn’t expanded to include more facilities; and not only in California but in every state of the union.

  75. Dn DeCamp says:

    Amazing the mentality oof our gvernment officials. And we have them running our country. Maybade some of them should try the vegan diet.

  76. mark spencer says:

    Someone above asked why this program was scrapped—I’m not sure if anyone else answered, but I’m pretty sure it has to do with greed and money flow (usually the answer behind anything stupid or dirty)—the same asses who supply our children’s school cafeterias also supply the prisons…

  77. Risto Siljanoski says:

    Who ever eats meat must admit that he or she is a killer!
    Is killer a good person? Killing is real HORROR!

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  85. Michelle says:

    Hospitals, prisons, schools should all be vegan. They are not because commercial interests such as beef producers etc have too much influence over politians. It would be healthier for people in institutions and much cheaper for taxpayers, but those are not the primary goals of the individuals on very high incomes who make the decisions.

  86. Diana Winger says:

    Whats surprising most is that this isnt common knowledge common sense that a peaceful diet would bring about peace?!?!!! Obviously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  87. janet says:

    Whoever wrote the response ‘above’ about sugar being more dangerous than meat ‘SHOULD’ take a look at what exactly the diet was. Sugar a l s o was eliminated from the inmates diet,
    b u t — no program s uch-as NEWSTART has gone into a prison and turned the recidivism rate around – down to 2% by eliminating sugar from the diets. The results were achieved from a VeGan Diet. Meat and dairy are heavy – aggression producing and encouraging foods. Our teeth are not carnivorous teeth. We can’t eat meat raw which proves that it was not the intention of ‘God’ for humans to be eating meat. Dairy is mucous and disease producing. It would als o be interesting to know how the health of these prisoners improved physically (we know about the mental improvement in the article) when becoming vegan.

  88. steve says:

    i was at this prison in 2000 it was a great program and unfortunately politics was trying to shut it down at the time i guess they succeeded i would recommend this sort of program all over the country

  89. steve says:

    and also i never went back to prison

    • pat says:

      is it possible for you or any other inmates to contact me IF
      you are willing to give a statement on what you think about the
      NEWSTART program.

  90. Mack says:

    Correctional Facilities? A program that addressed the mind, body, and soul of a man which led to true change and a new life- and it gets cancelled for money? Why are there no groups or politicians making this a priority and getting this program back. U.S.A., we jail more of our citizens than any other country. 1 in 100 of us are affected. Its reprehensible to think we allow Americans to suffer the degradation for some money making agenda. Ethics, character; nope just the money.

  91. Andreas Kastelholm says:

    This is not convincing since the improvements can be caused by any of the special services: job training or bible studies or other. Or the attitude of the staff (causing a “we can DO THIS” placebo effect).

    Luckily for vegetarianism, there is no evidence of the opposite either (destructive effects of vegetarianism), so the ethical discussion can move to other consequences of vegetarianism.

    For example the environment. If you research the links between vegetarianism and environment, you’ll find that a lot of precious water goes into meat production. You’ll find that a lot of antibiotics get used on pigs and chickens, increasing the risk of bacterial resistance and mutations.

    You’ll also find that the animals DO suffer, and that this happens systemically in a way and degree that the cops ought to look into, if they were to take their ‘order and justice’ seriously.

    We close our eyes to a lot of injustice in the name of ‘normality’. We punish a teenager who steals a meal, but we finance the houses wherein grownups torture and kill animals that never had a decent, free life.

    We have constrained freedom and quality everywhere we can. Therefore we should move our constraining systems onto non-living resources. Not people. Not animals.

    My life would be meaningless if I was a monster. No matter how good I felt, if I really was a monster, it would be completely meaningless.

    The consequences of the meat-industry (of many ‘normalities’ today) are monstrous. Following them makes me a monster, meaningless.