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Ep38: Lucy Vincent and Linda Kjær Minke on Food in Prisons

Episode summary

As this season on power in the food system comes to a close, we wanted to focus on how food is consumed in institutions - places where people typically have less agency over their own food choices.

In this episode we’re focusing on food in prisons in the United Kingdom and Denmark. We're joined by Lucy Vincent, Chief Executive and Founder of the charity Food Behind Bars in the UK, and Linda Kjær Minke, a criminology professor at the University of Southern Denmark who researches food dynamics in Danish prisons. We discuss how food in prisons is procured, prepared and eaten, and how these two systems of prison food can lead to very different results for the incarcerated, for those working in prisons and – potentially – for society as a whole.

[ Transcript available ]

A warm thanks to TABLE volunteer Theo Heaton-Davies for guest presenting and Ingrid Reiser of Azote for editing this episode.


About Lucy Vincent and Food Behind Bars

Lucy Vincent is the Chief Executive of Food Behind Bars. While working as a freelance journalist, Lucy wrote an article in 2016 about what women eat in prison and has since immersed herself in the world of prison food.

Food Behind Bars is the UK’s only Registered Charity dedicated to transforming the food served in British prisons. They work with prisons on the subject of food - to improve the lives of those eating it and support the people making it. Their aim is to positively impact the health and wellbeing of prisoners, by delivering practical food-based education, promoting healthy eating and designing exciting food and drink initiatives.

Their projects and activities cover every aspect of food, cooking, eating and hospitality. They work with prisons on a bespoke basis, co-designing original initiatives that enable prisons to champion healthy, tasty and exciting food. Their work is shaped around each unique establishment and united by their philosophy of wholesome food for everyone in society.

You can listen to the Food Behind Bars podcast series to hear more about their work with food in UK prisons.


About Linda Kjær Minke

Linda Kjær Minke is a professor in criminology at the Department of Law at the University of Southern Denmark. Linda has studied imprisonment, prison life and how punishment works for nearly 20 years. She is trained as a sociologist with a PhD in criminology from the Faculty of Law at University of Copenhagen and has led several research projects investigating the intersection of food, prisons and rehabilitation.

Here are a few articles referenced in the episode:

Renting cells abroad: Understanding contemporary policy responses to prison overcrowding (Linda Kjaer Minke  and An-Sofie Vanhouche, 2023)

Hygge: Food and the construction of safety among incarcerated women in Denmark (Amy Smoyer and Linda Kjær Minke, 2019)

Prison Food in Denmark: Normal Responsibility or Ethnocentric Imaginations? (Amy Smoyer and Linda Kjær Minke, 2017)

Cooking in prison--from crook to cook (Linda Kjær Minke, 2014)


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