Prison Inmates Challenge Soy in Diet as Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Counsel for five current and former Illinois prison inmates has reportedly indicated that four expert witnesses are prepared to testify that the soy in the inmates’ prison diets caused them “irreparable, actual harm,” and thus their litigation against the state, prison wardens and nurses will proceed. Harris v. Brown, No. 07-03225 (C.D. Ill., filed August 16, 2007). According to a news source, the inmates are seeking an order to stop the Illinois Department of Corrections from using soy in the food prisoners eat; the plaintiffs claim they consumed up to 100 grams of soy protein daily despite Food and Drug Administration recommendations that soy intake not exceed 25 grams.
Claiming violations of their Eighth Amendment rights to be free of cruel and
unusual punishment, the plaintiffs are being represented by the Weston A.
Price Foundation, which opposes soy foods and has backed similar lawsuits
in other states. The foundation claims that soy has replaced most of the meat
and cheese in the inmates’ diets and that soy flour or protein is now added
to most baked goods. Too much soy, according to the foundation, can cause
serious health problems, such as constipation alternating with diarrhea,
vomiting, heart palpitations, rashes, acne, insomnia, panic attacks, depression,
fatigue, weight gain, infections, and thyroid disease. Judge Harold Baker
could apparently decide in September 2012 whether the case will proceed to
trial. See Weston A. Price Foundation Press Release, October 25, 2011; Chicago
Tribune, February 17, 2012.