Theses Master's

Keep It Fresh: Improving Access to Fresh Produce in New York State Correctional Facilities – A Pilot Program at Sing Sing Correctional Facility

Slingerland, Isabel; Hutchinson, Carole L.; Wilson, Joseph

Justice impacted people incarcerated in the United States carceral system have higher levels of all-cause mortality than the general public (Binswanger et al., 2007; Bondolfi et al., 2020; Wilper et al., 2009). Those incarcerated1 in state correctional facilities are more likely to die than those in federal facilities, with 79% of all deaths in state facilities stemming from illness (Carson, 2021). Common illnesses experienced by those incarcerated include diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease (Binswanger et al., 2007; Bondolfi et al., 2020; Wilper et al., 2009). The food available in state correctional facilities emerges as an area of concern in relation to this high prevalence of illness. People incarcerated in New York State Correctional
Facilities (NYSCFs) have access to food through five main pathways – the mess hall, the commissary, cultural and organizational fundraisers, visiting room vending machines, and food packages mailed into the facility by loved ones2. High nutritional value food, including fresh produce, is not available through these pathways (Correctional Association of New York (CANY), 2021; New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), 2019; J. Wilson, personal communication, October 2022). Eating fresh produce has been linked to decreased morbidity and mortality from the illnesses above but NYSCFs have not addressed these issues (He et al., 2007; Hung et al., 2004; Muraki et al., 2013; Wang et al., 2014).

The Keep It Fresh program is a multi-level program that is expected to decrease morbidity and mortality from increased accessibility to fresh produce in NYSCFs and will be piloted in Sing Sing Correctional Facility (SSCF) before being recommended to more NYSCFs. The program will address interpersonal, community, and policy level determinants. The overall aims of the Keep It Fresh program are to encourage the development of a system that brings fresh local produce to the commissary and mess hall, and to make fresh produce more accessible to the loved ones of those incarcerated as well as easier to send into those in NYSCFs. Possible quality of life improvements associated with the program include increased feelings of support,
decreased financial strain, and increased ability to maintain healthy relationships between those incarcerated and their loved ones on the outside.

Keywords: Prison, Correctional Facilities, Program Design, Intervention Mapping, New York State Correctional Facilities, Fresh Produce, Nutritional Food.


  • thumnail for Slingerland_Thesis_Final_CLH Sig 3_28_23.pdf Slingerland_Thesis_Final_CLH Sig 3_28_23.pdf application/pdf 2.22 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Sociomedical Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Gloria, Christian T.
M.P.H., Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Published Here
April 3, 2023


Isabel Slingerland thesis.