What do you mean institutionalised? Part 1.

HMP fine dining.


In my first blog I questioned whether David is institutionalised. Yes, he is!

This is the first in a series of blogs covering the ways that he is institutionalised.

Although I  take a light hearted look at being institutionalised. It is actually a very serious issue affecting serving prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families.


It has prompted me to have a further look into institutionalisation. I have so many questions. We’ve all heard about it, but;

  • Is anything being done about it?
  • Has consideration been given to the link to re-offending?
  • Are families helped to make adjustments?
  • Do we prepare Prisoners before their release?

I have so much to learn and I look forward to sharing my findings with you.

In the meantime, here’s my first example …

1. HMP Fine Dining

I must first say a huge thanks to HMPPS for giving David so many opportunities to perfect his culinary skills working in many prison kitchens. I am certainly reaping the rewards.

He is an amazing chef and can easily knock up a meal for 200 on a total budget of £3.27.

He even developed ‘delicious’ recipes using only the ingredients available from canteen  easily prepared or cooked in a kettle.


For many more recipes, ask the Education Department in HMP Norwich for a copy of David’s prison publication ‘Outlook. Created by prisoners for prisoners.’

David can make “Prison doughnuts” from jam & a slice of bread, deep fried and dipped in sugar.

 “Wait ‘til you try them. They’re the b*llocks.”



 Deep frying a jam sandwich shaped into a round ball  does not a doughnut make.      

If it’s ok with you, I’ll stick with Krispy Kremes, Darling.

 David’s a big fan of sugar. Although he has no idea that I have gradually cut him down to one and a half teaspoons of sugar in his coffee.

He covers every meal with salt and white pepper, most with ketchup. Lunch and dinner are always served beneath four slices of white bread. One slice is always saved for mopping up the plate.

Some foods he will never eat again, including pasta, rice, noodles and pork. He will never drink tea, Cup-A-Soup or anything with milk whether it’s fresh from the fridge, tinned, powdered or UHT.

I believe his gift for eating whilst standing comes from leaning against the doorway of his ‘pad’, so he can chat with others on the landing.  Any gossip??



When we eat out, David is the perfect dinner date with impeccable table manners and puts a Sommelier to shame with his knowledge of the wine list.



However at home it’s a very different story. He eats with his right elbow level to his ear, stabbing his food with a fork. (Fork to face, Dear, not face to fork, )

His left arm is used to form a barrier around his plate and he eats at a speed only ever seen on Man V’s Food.



Despite several covert attempts, I have never been able to nick a couple of chips from his plate.

I’m very slap-dash when it comes to mealtimes. I don’t plan meals. I eat what I fancy on that day, when I fancy eating it.


David likes to eat all his meals at exactly the same time every day. If I’m at work, he will serve dinner at 6pm, even when I’m not due to be home until 7pm.

And, that brings me nicely to my next blog – Slave to Routine published soon.

Please leave your thoughts and comments on institutionalisation.  Time to start a conversation about an important subject rarely discussed.




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