Geek Trivia

What Was Once Considered Cruel And Unusual Punishment To Feed Inmates?

Salt and Vinegar Chips
The Phrase "Ground Rules" Originated In?

Answer: Lobster

Although it would seem absurd today, given how strongly lobster has become associated with upper class dining and fancy meals, once upon a time in America it was considered cruel and unusual punishment to feed lobster to prison inmates.

Long before lobster was a center piece on restaurant menus, it was regarded as akin to a rat that lived in the sea. Lobster was so abundant along the coast of colonial America that you could literally wade out off the shore and just fill a sack with as many lobster as you could carry. After a powerful storm, beaches would be piled high with lobster washed up out of the shallows.

Because of this incredible abundance of lobster and the ease in which is was procured, it was often fed to prisoners since it was the cheapest source of protein available at the time. Prison reformists viewed the serving of lobster akin to serving the inmates rats and campaigned against the use of lobster in the prison system. Several colonies even adopted laws against feeding lobster to prisoners more than once a week to curb how much lobster meat the inmates were forced to eat.

Image by rubicat.