04/02/2012 04:03 pm ET

Can Food Be Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

If you’ve led a law-abiding life, chances are you have never encountered “nutriloaf,” a foul-tasting brick served to prisoners who get out of line. How foul-tasting? Depending on the recipe, somewhere on the spectrum from unpleasant to vomit inducing. A Milwaukee inmate who threw up violently for days after eating nutriloaf asked a federal appeals court to consider whether nutriloaf could be so bad that it is unconstitutional. Last week, that court became the first federal appeals court to say yes.

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