Notes from days 12-13 of a prison juice fast. The BOP sent a medical services officer from its Regional Office to have an “open house” for people who feel aggrieved with their medical treatment. During this meeting Oscar Stilley obtained a promise of soap and paper towels in the prison housing units. However, the prison reneged on its promise to let Stilley try to persuade the prison doctor to let him have juice for his juice fast.

Day 12, Tuesday, November 2, 2010, Election day

We had apples today. I left when our unit was called. It was rainy, which contributed to an early call. People tend to dribble out of their units, rather than streaming out, on a day like this.

I quickly collected three trays. I easily could have collected twice, maybe three times that many. They were better than last time, both as to variety and defects. They had better structure, but were still easy to crush. The juice was absolutely delightful, a little piece of heaven right here in the prison dishroom.

I timed it and determined that it would take about 10 minutes for me to make a glass of juice from apples that were washed and ready to crush. Counting prep time and drinking time, I should be able to get about 4 glasses an hour. That works out great for me.

I drank a lot and was reminded that it can have a bit of laxative effect. There was no problem, but a person should be prepared, if they choose, as I did, to drink what probably amounted to 5 or 6 glasses of apple juice as a sitting. Any fruit juice will tend to run through, if you drink enough of it.

It takes about 6 apples for me to get a glass of juice using my system. I used a cut up piece of boxer briefs as the cloth, but I think a handkerchief from commissary would probably be better. I was able to wring out as much juice as my strength allowed, which increased yield considerably. I stashed a dozen apples in one serving tray, in the dish room.

I hope this information will prove helpful to someone else who needs the benefits of a juice fast. Particularly, it would be great to help other prison inmates defend their own health with these ideas.

In observing other people in the lunchroom, I have concluded that one wouldn’t necessarily have to work in the dish room to get enough fruit. There are people who sit by the dishroom window and ask for uneaten oranges or grapefruit to juice, as it comes by. I see the trays of squeezed oranges coming in. They get plenty of juice in the mornings when such fruit is served.

I can handle a day or two on water without much problem. Conserving calories makes those days more pleasant. We have bananas as the only fruit on some days. Usually then there will at least be some opportunity for “juice” consisting of the water in which beans, corn, or peas are canned. I tend to think such juices would add a lot of micronutrients, but relatively little of the simple sugars in juice that fuel the body on a juice fast.

I came back at lunch and juiced my stash of apples. I gave away a couple of them to one of the day shift Food Service workers. He asked for one, I gave him two, with a smile. I’m invading his work space. No matter how respectfully that’s done, it’s a good idea to look for ways to make friends with them. This gentleman ran the sprayer in the back. That’s a great place to get ready to do juicing soon after the conclusion of the meal.

I got two glasses of liquid off the green peas served this evening. It has raffinose, which results in gas, but at that quantity, without any other juice, gas isn’t a big issue. I like the taste.

Day 13, Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I got plenty of orange juice for me this morning, even though we were 12th and last in the rotation to eat. There weren’t any left over to stash. That turned out not to matter. Regional officials were here today, and the dishroom was thoroughly stripped and cleaned.


A representative from the Bureau of Prisons Regional Office was here for a medical services “open house.” The US District Court awarded $813,000 medical malpractice judgment against this prison, for its gross negligence in treating a former inmate. Regional sent a stuffed suit up to the prison to create the appearance, but not the reality, of rectifying the systematic, chronic, callous disregard of the legitimate health interests of inmates.

Pardon me for calling the fellow a stuffed suit. I cordially introduced myself and asked for his name. He declined. So, until he is identified by his proper name, he is Mr. StuffedSuit to me.

I explained that the Lieutenant had promised me a “call-out,” inviting me to see the doctor for my juice fast/hunger strike. Mr. StuffedSuit responded, with his best bureaucratic smile, that my juice fast wasn’t sufficiently bona fide for the BOP. Thirteen days without eating doesn’t qualify, presumably since I have manifested no apparent intent of self harm. According to the Program Statements, that’s a hunger strike, but then BOP brass like Mr. StuffedSuit get to interpret the meaning of the words however they please.

I said I wanted to demonstrate the efficacy of juice fasting against such lifestyle diseases as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. He explained that medical science wouldn’t necessarily agree that it worked. He furthermore opined that I couldn’t find 5 people willing to juice fast for 2 weeks. I responded that I just wanted a chance to try, and lamented the fact the prison would not do the routine tests that would have shown the medical impact of my own juice fast, on my own body. Alas, there is no one so blind as he who does not want to see.

He then said that my ideas would be great on the outside, but this is prison, and prison is just different. He asked how long I would be in prison, apparently hoping that he could persuade me that it would be reasonable to wait until I was released. My May 2023 projected release date nixed that idea.

He asked why I didn’t get juice at Food Service. I explained that they serve nothing but the high fructose corn syrup that is wrecking this nation’s health, and that my sole source of fruit juice was scavenging in the dish room. I pointed out that this very prison had a salad bar until fairly recently, and that other prisons serve real fruit juice, to this very day. None of that was persuasive.

The net result is that I won’t get to even see a doctor. Apparently there is some considerable fear that I might persuade him to authorize me to get fruit and vegetable juice for this juice fast.

I did get one valuable promise from Mr. StuffedSuit. He acted surprised that the housing units didn’t have soap and paper towels in the bathrooms, and promised that we would get them. I asked him when, and he said he would talk to the safety manager, Mr. Sandage, by tomorrow, to direct him to make that available. I also asked to get rid of the antibiotics in the liquid soap used by Food Service, explaining that this was part of the reason we have an outbreak of drug resistant staph. He didn’t seem opposed to that idea.

Let me give you an example of how this prison squanders tax dollars with its penny-wise, pound a fool “no soap” policy. A fellow food service worker got a staph infection on his leg. He was turned away from Health Services 3 on three consecutive days. On the 4th time, he was treated, but by then the infection was so bad that he had to be taken to the hospital and put on an antibiotic IV, at a cost of many hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

This happens over and over again. This prison spends huge sums on highly avoidable medical treatment, and incurs even larger malpractice liabilities, by denying us soap and paper towels. Now I have a promise to stop this particular example of government folly and waste. Whether this will be another broken promise, like the promise to let me see a doctor for my juice fast/hunger strike, remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

I got plenty of orange juice for juice at lunch. A friendly guard said we couldn’t keep the oranges by the dish window. We knew that Regional officials were around, so I juiced them as they came in. We both wanted to protect him and make him look good, to the extent possible. I juiced if there were oranges, pulled glasses when they were gone. I kept the juice glass on the paper towel dispenser, so I didn’t necessarily have to drink it all as I juiced it.

I got about 2 1/2 glasses of cabbage juice in the evening. It was a real taste treat. There was just the slightest sheen of oil on the top, but I drank it anyway, without any noticeable ill effects.