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Convict crackdown

QUEENSBURY-Some former convicts and street people used to call the Warren County jail "Camp Cupcake"

But no longer, since a convict crackdown has been in place.

Jail life is a lot bleaker now that about 70 channels of cable television have been blocked, coffee's off the menu, and the inmates' microwave ovens have been removed. And for those who break disciplinary rules, there's a more threatening punishment - normal food privileges are taken away, and they get only "The Loaf" instead.

Technically known as Nutraloaf, it's a mixture of whole wheat, cheese, carrots, spinach, raisins, tomato paste, powdered milk and beans, baked up in heavy brown loaf. One 1-pound loaf per meal is served.

Warren County Sheriff Bud York said this week that after taking away the traditional privileges in November - and the threat of a Nutraloaf diet - conditions in the jail are more orderly.

"The guys are in jail because they can't follow rules," he said. "They are always looking to break rules, and they have to pay for breaking the rules."

In the crackdown, York promoted jail guard Marlo Barboza to a "Corrections Inspector," who is in charge of seeing discipline measures are followed. He called her "street smart," far more so than the inmates.

Barboza said the Nutraloaf diet is imposed on inmates after they throw feces or urine at guards, spit on them, assault them, expose them to blood, or flood their cells by blocking up their toilets, or pick fights.

"They don't like 'The Loaf,'" she said, noting it was concocted in the jail kitchen. "Some eat it, some pick at it, some have said 'I surrender, I give up, you got me' after a few days."

Serving Nutraloaf has been challenged in lawsuits across the nation, but the practice was upheld in court decisions in New York, Virginia and Arizona, Barboza said. State law cites that meals must be nutritional, but not appetizing, she said.

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