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New Zealand : stay out of trouble if you don't like prison food

Corrections Minister Judith Collins has a message for the long-term prisoner who is demanding healthier menus: “Stay out of jail if you don’t like the food”.

Dean Wickliffe, one of New Zealand’s longest-serving inmates, wrote to Corrections boss Ray Smith asking for greater variety of more affordable and healthy food for purchase in prisons.

But Collins said: “If he was so worried about the food in prison, he had choices in his life.

“One of them was to not commit crime to end up in prison for long stretches. Hopefully before committing any other crimes, he would like to remember the food he found so boring and tasteless.”

Collins said Corrections made no money from selling “treats”.

She said a smoking ban, in force from July, would mean prisoners would have more cash to spend on goodies.

Prisoners can spend up to $70 a week on food and toiletry items from a nationally-managed list which includes 13 items of confectionary but only three items of fruit.

Wickliffe, a connoisseur of prison food, having spent almost 36 years behind bars, wants more varieties of fruit and vegetables, and a selection of healthier cereals and biscuits added.

The 62-year-old convicted killer, who recently served almost three years jail for possession of a loaded Colt .45 revolver and Class B drug fantasy, said prisoners relied on “the prison canteen” because provided meals were often too small or inedible.

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