Prisoner: ‘I have to live off crisps and biscuits diet’

Prisoner Stuart Houghton, with his sister Victoria Gilham
Prisoner Stuart Houghton, with his sister Victoria Gilham

A man who can’t eat fruit, vegetables or nuts has to live off biscuits and crisps because prison bosses won’t cater for his condition.

Stuart Houghton from Wolverton first entered HMP Woodhill in July last year when he began a five-year prison sentence. But he has a wide range of allergies, which are so severe that he can 
go into anaphylactic shock if someone in the vicinity is eating fruit.

His family claim that his health has deteriorated because of the poor dietary choices on offer, saying he has lost five-and-a-half stone during his time inside.

Sister Victoria Gilham said: “In Woodhill he was told that they have to provide him with one hot meal a day, but their determination of ‘a meal’ was either dry spaghetti with boiled chicken that’s uncooked in the middle, boiled rice with boiled chicken, or boiled rice with baked beans. So for six months his diet was rice, spaghetti or beans.

“They were given breakfast cereal, but for three days out of five it was muesli, which he can’t eat because of the fruit and nuts. And the sweet after meals is a piece of fruit – he only needs someone nearby to eat a banana and he goes into anaphylactic shock.”

She added: “I wrote letters to Woodhill but I never got a response. Then I wrote to my MP and they sorted his food in Woodhill although it was still very limited.

“Then in January he was moved again to Stocken where the food is even worse. Now he lives off cereal, biscuits and crisps, which he buys from his own allowance.”

Mr Houghton, 39, first began to show signs of his allergies at age 21. He moved to live with his sister and her husband four-and-a-half years ago after he had a number of health problems.

He was imprisoned for assault shortly after moving to Milton Keynes, although his sister says he is appealing against the verdict.

But she says that she is worried for his health the longer he is in custody, and that the diet provided to him has only got worse since he was moved to Stocken.

Victoria added: “It’s not easy but I managed to feed him fine when he lived with us, I just needed to mash all of his food down so it was almost like a puree.

“Unfortunately prison food is so cheap that it is only making his health worse.

The Ministry Of Justice was unable to comment.