Evaluating the Carceral Kitchen: A Qualitative-Abductive Approach

13 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2022 Last revised: 3 Mar 2023

See all articles by Robb Elton

Robb Elton

National University ; Northcentral University

Date Written: October 13, 2022


The U.S. criminal justice industrial complex (CJIC) consumes goods and services from industries ranging from health care, textiles, wood, metal to many products and proprietary strategies related to security, including specific architectural engineering designs. There are unfortunately millions of prisoners at any given time throughout facilities operated by numerous jurisdictions across the United States. The prisoners must be clothed, have access to health care, and they maintain a number of other rights under the U.S. Constitution. Prisoners must also be fed, thus, the CJIC also demands adequate food services, related staffing levels, including adequately trained and vetted personnel. Related to the CJIC are the policies, procedures, and laws governing limitations and carceral activities which affect logistics. The rationale for these rules must be understood by non-prisoners and potential employees of the CJIC alike, specific to the prison kitchen (carceral kitchen). The purpose of this article is to extrapolate reasons for the disparate absence of managerial, administrative literature from this sector, and perhaps that answer can be found in the ways and manner these environs (carceral kitchens) likely differ from commercial kitchens. The research draws upon author observation and experiences from commercial and carceral kitchens. The findings from this research are hopefully informative for future students/graduates in related fields in that it infers opportunities and skills applicable for applying culinary arts and food service in carceral kitchen systems. The findings suggest that geography/security strategy inhibits access to professional/academic opportunities. Additionally, however this niche can be a place for advancement and opportunity for entry level workers while at the same time demand creativity and managerial prowess/people skills.

Keywords: carceral kitchen systems, prison culinary arts, abductive research, phronesis, organizational planning and behavior

JEL Classification: Z22, Z32, Z18, D24, I28, J21, J23, M38, M16, J28, J38, J48, J62, L64

Suggested Citation

Elton, Robb, Evaluating the Carceral Kitchen: A Qualitative-Abductive Approach (October 13, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4246160 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4246160

Robb Elton (Contact Author)

National University ( email )

9388 Lightwave Ave
San Diego, CA 92123
United States

Northcentral University ( email )

United States

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