State of Illinois Is Poisoning and Starving Prisoners

As many of you know, the problem of toxic soy ingredients in prison diets has concerned the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) for many years. It began in 2003 in the Illinois prisons when Blagojevich became governor. He repaid his political debts to Archer Daniel Midlands (ADM) by eliminating meat from the prison diet and replacing it with soy—soy nuggets, soy patties, soy sausage and even soy flour in the baked goods. Since an Internet search for “soy dangers” immediately brings up the Weston A. Price Foundation, we soon began receiving desperate pleas for help from Illinois prisoners.

Soy and Soy Derivatives to Avoid

This led to a lawsuit by six prisoners, supported by WAPF, in which we asked for an injunction against soy in Illinois prison food.  The lead plaintiff was Larry Harris, who had severe reactions to dietary soy, so much so that he was able to get a doctor’s prescription for a no-soy diet.  The prison did honor this, even if it meant that meals sometimes consisted of one hard boiled egg or a cup of beans.

Unfortunately, we lost the lawsuit and the prison promptly punished Larry by rescinding his no-soy diet.  He and most other prisoners survived by purchasing commissary food with money that friends and family sent to them—often a difficult sacrifice for the families involved.

We thought we had lost the battle but won the war when the Illinois Department of Corrections stopped serving soy on January 1, 2019.  The men were getting meat again, decent though hardly gourmet fare, which satisfied court rulings stipulating the prisoners should receive “life-sustaining” food. Unfortunately, the victory has been short-lived. With Covid-19, the soy has returned. The state website now openly admits they put 100 grams of soy in the prison diet each day, even though FDA recommends eating no more than 25 grams a day. A typical day includes two hard boiled eggs and four ounces oatmeal for breakfast, soy lunch meat and cheese sandwich for lunch and soy goulash for supper; or, cold cereal for breakfast, soy polish sausage for lunch and soy taco for supper. Soy ingredients at this level constitute a poison, invariably leading to severe health problems, including thyroid disease, endocrine disruption and digestive disorders.

This move would not be so bad if the men could purchase food in the commissary. Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, the men have been on “lock down” for over two hundred days.  This means they are locked in their cells, their meals all brought to them, with restricted access to showers, phones and exercise and—worst of all—restricted access to the commissary.

Harris reports that they can now shop at the commissary only one day per month and are restricted to seventy-five-dollars worth of food per shop—enough to sustain a prisoner for about a week. Larry reports: “I choose to starve each day versus getting sick. Soy causes bleeding out of my bowels each time I use the toilet, severe bleeding hemorrhoids; skin rashes on my shoulders, neck and chest; trouble breathing and sleeping, and exacerbated thyroid symptoms. Starving does not hurt as bad.” Larry has lost twenty-six pounds—so far.

Tobacco Barn - Now booking for 2023-2034

The commissary restrictions are especially troubling because commissary sales are a big source of income for the State of Illinois, generating thirty-four million dollars in revenue yearly when the prisoners shop each week without restrictions—normally they are allowed to spend one hundred fifty dollars per week at the commissary—which is where they purchase not only food but soap, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, pens and paper, none of which the prison supplies. Says Harris, “That is thirty-four million in taxpayer dollars freed up to repair bridges, build roads, support school, to do good—and to pay for better prison food.”

Meanwhile, the staff who now work only sporadically in the commissary still receive sixty thousand dollars per year in base pay, and most generate one hundred thousand dollars per year with overtime.

The Department of Corrections has very strict rules about commissary. A-Grade, where you can shop once a week with no limit, is for prisoners with a good behavior record. If you get a ticket for a rule violation, you are demoted to B-Grade, which allows the prisoner to shop once a month with a thirty-dollar limit. C-Grade allows you to shop once a month for cosmetics only (soap, shampoo, etc.) and writing supplies—again with a thirty-dollar limit. B and C Grades also have restrictions on shower use, phone calls and yard time. Prisoners are expected to obey the rules—but not the prison staff!

“Why is there a limit?” Harris asks.  No one has supplied this answer. None of the prisoners is sick, and while a small number of staff members has reported in sick, the prisoners have had no contact with them.  Says Harris, “How do you rehabilitate a prisoner when he follows the rules, but is denied the rights he has coming to him in regards to food and supplies? The warden does not move prison workers who have contact with sick staff to the quarantine house but instead locks down the whole prison with no logic or rationale.”

Five prisoners have filed a lawsuit regarding the soy, but this will take time and meanwhile everyone is sick and starving.

You can help! If you are moved by this blog, please contact the following by email, letter or phone call.  Ask for an end to the soy-laden prison diet and the lock-down conditions, and urge the reinstatement of once-a-week commissary. 

In Harris’ case, passage of the early release bill SB3233, would set him free of an obscene sentence for a crime he did not commit.

Governor J B Pritzker
100 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601
Contact Form:

Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul
Assistant Attorney General
C.M.R. Turner
100 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 814-3000

Representative Justin Slaughter
1234 West 95th Street, Chicago, IL 60643
(773) 445-9700

Senator Selina Villaneuva
111 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Representative Carol Ammons
240A-W Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 558-1009

IL Rep. Randy Frese
3701 East Lake Centre Drive, Suite 3, Quincy, IL 62305

Senator Jill Tracy
3701 East Lake Centre Drive, Suite 3, Quincy, IL 6230

Office of Senator Richard Durbin 
U.S. Senator from Illinois
711 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
1504 Third Avenue
Suite 227
Rock Island, IL 61201
Ph: 309-786-5173

Office of Senator Tammy Duckworth
U.S. Senator from Illinois
524 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
1823 2nd Ave., Suite 2
Rock Island, IL 61201
Ph: 309-606-7060

Representative Darin LaHood
U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 18th District
Peoria District Office
100 NE Monroe Street
Room 100
Peoria, Illinois 61602

Illinois ACLU Office

Chicago Tribune
160 N. Stetson Ave., Third Floor
Chicago, IL 60601312-546-7900

Author: Sally Fallon Morell

Sally Fallon Morell is best known as the author of Nourishing Traditions®: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels.

3 thoughts on “State of Illinois Is Poisoning and Starving Prisoners”

  1. Thank you very muchI

    I think we agree that every individual is a member of humanity (as a whole) and that institutional servings of non-food items to any “member” is inhumane. On that basis alone all efforts to correct the situation at the prison in Illinois is commendable! I am reasonably certain this is our shared perspective on this issue.

    There’s also a legal perspective that I am also “reasonably certain” needs to be fully disclosed and throughly understood in order to finally resolve this at the fundamental core.

    Legally – the prisoners don’t really have “rights” (despite all beliefs to the contrary). Whatever rights they might have had before entering the legal system have been essentially voluntarily surrendered (although possibly unknowingly). The denial of rights is simply the nature of “the beast” known as “THE STATE OF ILLINOIS” which is an incorporated legal fiction that operates by undisclosed corporate rules that are entirely separate from our American Organic Law! The hope of correcting the corporate entity to obey the American Organic Law is truly not a real possibility. Only a fully reconstructed Illinois as the original state of the Union will be able to obey the American Organic Law. (Reconstruction was not completed after the so called “Civil War”.)

    The prisoners could play a pivotal role if they correct their (political) relationship with “THE STATE OF ILLINOIS” by declaring their truly American status (i.e. “State Citizen” or simply “free-inhabitant”) and thus abandon their second-class 14th Amendment status (which allows for “voluntary servitude”). For more information on correcting one’s status and possibly joining a State Assembly see:

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