Weird Food News

Terry Nichols is going to have to stick with prison gruel

Terry Nichols has lost his drawn-out plea for more wholesome prison fare. Last Thursday, Colorado U.S. District Court Judge Christine Arguello dismissed the convicted Oklahoma City bomber conspirator's claims that he needs a diet of "100% whole grain foods, bran products, unpeeled and uncooked fruits and vegetables, and legumes" in order to satisfy his medical and religious needs.

Arguello dismissed the bomber's claims "with prejudice," pointing to his failure to show how the prison's meals hindered his practice of Christianity. Nichols "has no constitutional right to a diet of his choice," ruled the judge.

Nichols, who is serving a life sentence at the federal penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, filed suit in March 2009 against a host of prison officials, including the facility's food-services administrator and its chaplain, claiming cruel and unusual punishment, First Amendment violation and religious discrimination.

In his meticulously handwritten complaint, Nichols says he "sincerely believes that God created mankind to consume unrefined whole foods, with its natural insoluble fiber, etc., that works in a synergistic way to keep one's body (ie God's holy temple) in good health to ward off various diseases."

This past February, Nichols went so far as to wage a hunger strike for his cause. And in May, he waged another one, reportedly dropping 35 pounds, to 125.

At this point, he might want to consider requesting a transfer to New York City's Rikers Island. The prison's bakery, staffed by ex-bakers, makes around 11,500 loaves of whole wheat bread every day.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jessica Chapman
Contact: Jessica Chapman