Inmates in maximum security prisons receive milkshakes and lentils on New Years

New Year’s menus have been drawn up for inmates in maximum security prisons in England (Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images/Ministry of Justice)

Inmates in high-security prisons will be served healthy food such as frozen mango shakes and lentil seed burgers on New Year’s Day.

Roast pork, salmon and braised steaks with baby potatoes are also on the January 1 menus at five men’s prisons in England that house some of the country’s most dangerous criminals.

At HMP Frankland, the selection includes ‘cheat beef stroganoff’ for the vegan option and a halal peppered minced beef casserole.

A ‘healthy option’ is salmon and sauce, and all dishes have a choice of sides including roast potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and sauce.

The dessert selection for tomorrow’s lunch served at Durham County Jail is apple crumble and custard or a fruit cocktail, with vegan pasties and tuna mayonnaise rolls among the teatime offerings.

Classified as Category A, meaning it houses inmates who pose the greatest threat to the public, police or national security, the prison has a seasonal menu decorated with images of Santa Claus.

One of the most infamous prisoners was the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffebefore his death in November 2020.

Serial killer Levi Bellfield, who is serving two life sentences for the murder of three people, is among the current inmates.

Ministry of Justice

A menu at HMP Belmarsh lists New Year’s week options including corned beef pies and spicy chicken wraps (Image: Ministry of Justice)

At HMP Manchester, a neatly arranged grid menu with signs indicating dietary requirements invites prisoners to mark their orders.

Dishes include Oven Braised Steak with Onions served with Baby Potatoes and Vegetables and diced Chicken Marinated in Indian Spices with Boiled Rice and Naan Bread.

The dessert in the jail of category A and B is an ice cream mango and orange milkshake.

The jail’s list of notorious inmates over the years has included Britain’s most prolific serial killer, Harold Shipman, who was held there before his trial, and Moors-killer Ian Brady.

Inmates at HMP Wakefield can choose from dishes including a burger and mixed seed lentil bun, vegetable lasagna and a halal chicken leg, with sides of chips and peas. Vegan, meat or tuna rolls are available for tea at the Category A jail in West Yorkshire.

(Image: Susannah Ireland/REX/Shutterstock)

Inmates at Belmarsh have a healthy variety of menu items to choose from during the festive season. (Image: Susannah Ireland/REX/Shutterstock)

Food packages have been arranged for inmates, including one for vegans consisting of lotus cookies, a packet of chips, juice, a coffee drink, a caramel apple pie and fruit.

Inmates in jail include murderer Jeremy Bamber, who killed five members of his own family, black cab rapist John Worboys and Roy Whiting, who murdered Sarah Payne.

At Belmarsh, an emotionless grid menu lists options including a vegan pie, roast pork, southern fish fry and balti chicken for the first dinner of 2023.

The black-and-white list at the Category A jail uses all capital letters to warn inmates not to write on or damage the edges of the form, as it will not be readable by a computer. Cake and custard or rice are the listed desserts at Thamesmead Gaol, east London.

Current and former inmates include Soham assassin Ian Huntley, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, major train robber Ronnie Biggs, and Henry Long, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, the three assassins of PC Andrew Harper.

Ministry of Justice

The New Year’s Day menu at HMP Wakefield showing the fare that inmates can choose from (Image: Ministry of Justice)

At HMP Full Sutton, the New Year’s lunch menu has options including halal roast chicken thigh, minced soy chili and vegan chicken or mushroom stroganoff. Side dishes in Category A and B prison include baked potatoes, rice, peas and sweet corn, and gravy.

For tea, the kitchen has prepared items including ham, vegan cheese and toasted walnut salad and pickle and beetroot salad.

Dessert at the East Riding of Yorkshire prison is a choice between a slice of melon with vegan flapjack or a fruitcake with strawberry ice cream.

The menus were published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) under the Freedom of Information Act after a request from

While festive arrangements have been made in jails, opportunities for inmates to socialize have been limited in the past two years.

In January, the Howard League for Penal Reform said prisoners in England and Wales had spent long periods locked up in cells during the Covid pandemic as scaled back regimes were implemented in a “failed and overcrowded system”.

In its response to the FOI request, the Justice Ministry said: ‘Prison meals over Christmas are paid for from the existing budget and at no additional cost to the taxpayer.

‘Prison rules require inmates to receive three meals a day that are varied and nutritious and meet everyone’s religious, cultural and medical needs. Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service is working closely with managers and caterers to ensure the best value for money at a time of rising food prices.’

The daily allowance for a prisoner is £2.02 per day.

The Ministry of Justice maintains that, in accordance with the new, broader financial responsibilities that governors have, the amount spent on food, even for religious occasions, is a decision made at the local level.

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