41-year-old Graham Coutts was jailed in April 2003 after being found guilty of murdering special needs teacher Jane Longhurst and was ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars.
On his blog (dated 21st May 2017), Coutts claims that the vegan pack which he is provided ‘deviates considerably’ from the recommended amount and that many vegan prisoners actually give up or throw away their vegan items.
Graham also notes on his blog that: “Due to me being on a medical low fat diet, the peanut butter, nuts and seeds have been removed from my vegan pack, but not replaced. So, for the past 10 months I’ve been getting less food than every other vegan in this prison.”
Graham Coutts is one of approximately 1,000 vegans in prisons around the UK. The Vegan Prisoners Support Group (VPSG) provides help, support and information for vegans who are detained in police custody or within the prison system in the UK. VPSG formed in 1994 and has produced a Catering Information Guide and the Guide for Vegan Prisoners.
VPSG recommend that the following are provided each week:
- 5 litres of fortified soya milk (in order to consume sufficient calcium and B12)
- 200g (7 oz) mixed nuts and seeds, consisting of 7 brazil nuts, plus walnuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds (in order to provide selenium and omega-3)
- 250g (9 oz) mixed dried fruit (raisins, dates, prunes etc)
- 250g (9 oz) oats (for use as a muesli base)
- 14-21 pieces of fruit, including 3 bananas/week and at least one citrus fruit/day
Some media channels are reporting the story as Coutts ‘whining’ or ‘whinging’ about his vegan food provision. Veganism is protected as a human right under Article 9 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and therefore vegans in prison have a right to vegan food, clothes, shoes and toiletries.
PETA has named HMP Coldingley, HMP Bronzefield, HMP Isle of Wight, HMP Kennet and HMP Guys Marsh as the top five vegan-friendly prisons in the UK with menus including African stew, vegan casserole, bean pâté, chickpea paella and Cornish pasties.
The VPSG emergency arrest line offers free advice and practical assistance. Visit their website for more information