Prison Cuisine Worthy of a Prince

Pizza, pasta, prison. Even though all of these words have two syllables and begin with the letter “p,” it doesn’t seem to make much sense to group them together.

But in the outskirts of Milan, dinner reservations are filling up for an out-of-the-box dining experience inside one of the biggest boxes created by man: a medium-security prison.

Dubbed “InGalera,” which literally translates to “in jail,” the prison itself might bring to mind trays of goop served on plastic trays, but the program’s supervisor, Silvia Polleri, had a different vision.

What started off as simply hiring inmates for catering jobs outside the prison has turned into an opportunity for inmates and professional chefs alike to come together to fulfill a better purpose for themselves behind bars.

For as much as 1,000 euros a month, or a little over $1,000, inmates are trained to become responsible citizens equipped to re-enter society after they’ve served their sentences. After exiting the program, the recidivism rates of inmates in similar programs is lower than average.

With the quality of food being served in the dining halls here on campus, it would probably be a nice change of pace to serve higher-quality meal options and actually train students to make good food.

It’s already difficult enough to be out on our own, when most can’t cook anything more complex than a bowl of piping hot Ramen. Although we haven’t been convicted, our convictions should be set on better quality foods for better quality lives. Because, hey, who doesn’t like pasta al dente?