Prison Food

Amanda Knox’s Favorite Prison Salad

Sharmilar Devar’s Pruno

There is no exact science to Pruno, aka Prison Wine – to my knowledge. I learned about it from a 2-Striker who was very interested in imparting helpful information to me.

For example, NEVER punch a police officer’s horse, as that will be considered Assault on a Police Officer (and you will get the appropriate punishment). Also, he shared the best places on your body to “shoot up” your drug of choice so as to evade detection from the authorities… or your significant other – in custody and on “the outside”.

Also, if a person with any sort of record goes to rob a 7-Eleven with a person with no record, and that (no-record) person is shot by a police officer & killed, it is probable that the record-holding thief with be hit with a murder charge, so the police will come off scott-free.

2-Striker might have been high when he told me the last one… but I’m pretty sure the other two are true.

As is this very imperfect recipe for Pruno.

Basically, Pruno is alcohol made from whatever you get during your meals in prison or jail. Usually you collect the fresh fruit you get, whether an apple or orange – even a banana will do. You will need to chew it so that the juices are flowing. Then, you add the bread from any sandwiches that you are given. As there isn’t a lot of food given in each prison meal & you are often hungry, this particular 2-Striker told me that he would eat his sandwiches, but save the crusts of the bread for his Pruno. I would imagine you can tweak the flavors based on items used and the amounts.

Please find the recipe below. I haven’t tried it, but if you do – please let me know if it works!

PRUNO (California Style)

* 1/2 eaten (chewed up to the best of your ability) fresh fruit (apple/orange/banana) – whatever you get in prison/jail
* the crusts of bread from your prison sandwich
* water or juice

NOTE: Saliva is a very important component to this recipe. DO NOT REPLACE!

* sugar packet
* jelly packet
* maple syrup packet
* cookie
* any non-chocolate candy, like sweet tarts, skittles, etc. (if you can get these from Commissary – or whatever way one gets such treats in prison/jail)

Once you have been given your fruit of the meal, start chewing it up into small, half-digested pieces. Your saliva will help you greatly with this recipe – it is a necessary component.

Set the chewed up fruit aside. Try to keep as much of the liquid created as possible.

Then take any sandwich you have been given for the day. Save as much of the bread as you can. If you are too hungry, eat the sandwich and save the crusts of the bread. (Please understand that it might take you longer to create Pruno with less bread AKA less yeast source.)

Chew the bread pieces until suitably salivated (soggy and chewed up).

Add chewed up bread to chewed up fruit and set aside.

Find a container – whether a sock or something fashioned from a undershirt, underwear, whatever you have laying around. If using cloth, you will need to layer it as much as possible, so as not to lose the precious Pruno Starter.

Stuff the chewed up fruit and chewed up bread into the receptacle. Add water, or if you have it, juice. At this time, you can add any additional items, such as the sugar, jelly or maple syrup. If you choose to add a cookie or candy, please make sure it is chewed up as this is the best way to release the sugars.

Close the receptacle as tightly as possible. Combine the ingredients via shaking, squishing, etc.

Place in a dark safe place. 2-Striker suggested the toilet as, in his experience, this made the best Pruno and was the safest place for it to evade the prison guards.

Continue to add additional fruit, bread, optional items, water as your starter begins to ferment.

Depending on prison temperature and ingredients, I would imagine your Pruno could be ready for consumption in as soon as a week. Although, if you choose to wait longer, I think (based on my limited scientific knowledge) that your Pruno will become stronger with a higher alcohol content.

I assume you can add water to dilute the mixture if you choose to share it with others.


re: Toilet Placement – I do not know if urine is a component in this recipe! I assumed that 2-Striker took out the Pruno Starter when he or his roommate used the toilet. Or at least angled their urination away from the Pruno.

Unfortunately, I did not get this part clarified when I was given the original recipe.


Ed Benndorf’s 7 Potatoes & 3 Tomatoes

Boil seven potatoes
While boiling cut three tomatoes
After boiling put the potatoes on a plate, cut them and add the tomatoes
If needed add some salt

Bureau of Prisons Inmate #26854-112’s Recipes for Hard Times

Penitentiary’s follow a weekly meal plan. Without exception, inmates are served the same meals on a rotating basis each week for the duration of their sentence. Many choose to prepare their own meals in their cell blocks or units. The following are some favorite foods enjoyed by guest of the state. Recipes vary, but these are generally dishes meant to be prepared either in cells or common areas of the penitentiary & without the benefits of the common kitchen.

Some foods are prepared & shared amongst friends, others are offered up for sale on the black market. Religious groups with dietary restrictions tend to prepare their own meals together, for instance.
Prison Bowls

Most inmates own a tupperware container & plastic flatware set purchased from the prison commissary. Three to ten individuals will regularly contribute towards an evening meal which is made in one large container & then served up into individual servings & delivered in their ‘bowl’. Inmates working in the prison kitchen will secretly abscond with fresh ingredients that make their way into these meals via the black market, while items such as tortillas, crisps, crackers, tuna fish & other canned meats may be purchased from the prison commissary. A common bowl will consist of one layer of refried beans, one layer of rice, one layer of nacho cheese sauce, one layer of meat & one layer of tortilla chips on the top, sometimes with tortillas between each layer.

Frito Tamale

A bag of frito or other corn chips is crushed into meal, and a small amount of hot water is added. The mixture pressed & left to cool. Once cooled a seasoned & cooked beef mixture may be wrapped in the corn meal as one would a traditional tamale. With corn husks generally not being found in most prison cell blocks, these are generally wrapped in either sandwich bags, plastic wrap or newspaper. Individual tamales will be sold for between 2 & 4 stamps each, depending on quality.