Will Plant-Based Diet Change Prisoner Behavior as Part of the Redemption Project?
The Redemption Project is working disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. It will pilot a vegan diet for up to 2,000 Pennsylvania prisoners soon, to see if it changes their anti-social behavior.
The "Character Be About It" program started by retired PA State Police Trooper Matt Harris is coming back to Erie's Public Schools. It's now part of a larger three pronged effort called "The Redemption Project."
It's all about disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline for at risk kids. Starting in November the program that puts officers in classrooms to teach character traits, and prevent bullying, will be in all Erie elementary and middle schools, at the request of Superintendent Brian Polito. "Having law enforcement, active law enforcement in the classroom teaching character traits that unfortunately are not being taught at home...and working with kids on disorderly conduct and bullying and fighting decreasing, it's working and that's the exciting part about it," Harris said.
The second prong focuses on teaching moral reasoning and anger control to keep kids in the juvenile system from re-offending and coming back. Juvenile offenders will also be mentored, counseled on post-secondary education and tracked upon release.
Prong three is an intriguing research project that will enlist inmates at Pennsylvania state prisons to see if a plant-based, vegan diet will improve their health and anti-social behavior. According to Harris the plan calls for selecting 200 inmates per facility and putting them on a plant-based vegan diet, supplying the food to the prisons and measuring sugar levels, glucose levels through blood draws. Harris said the goal is, "...seeing if the diet changes their behavior in prison and we think it does."
Inmates near the end of their sentences who volunteer for the program, will develop job skills for a new life through associated culinary and green programs. In Harris' words, helping these offenders get into careers such as chefs, culinary, green cleaning, landscaping that's what we're going to do and put these inmates that have two years or less on their sentence, that are going to be leaving the system, and help them stay out."
The dietary and behavior research will start later this year at the state correctional facility at Albion and other state prisons.