The Appeal podcast with Amy Ralston and Craig Cesal


As the government shutdown drags on, a number of media outlets–from NBC News to USA Today to the Washington Post–have run stories claiming that federal prisoners are eating elaborate steak dinners while prison guards go unpaid. This narrative, while obviously bogus, initially went unchallenged. This week, we are joined by two people who will help debunk it: Craig Cesal, a federal prisoner in Terre Haute, Indiana, currently serving life, and Amy Ralston Povah, a prison reform advocate and formerly incarcerated person. Read the transcripts or listen to the podcast.

Amy Ralston Povah: When you’re in prison, we are scapegoated. We’re quite often bullied. I think there needs to be a whole new training regimen for prison guards who feel it’s appropriate to bully some of the least of us with no voice and no access to complain.

Adam: And Craig Cesal, who is presently serving a life sentence at Terre Haute Federal Prison in Indiana, he’ll be joining us in just a minute by phone.

Craig Cesal: Well, our two biggest meals of the year, of course, are Thanksgiving and Christmas. We were served about four or five ounces of Turkey, about two tablespoons of dressing, we get some mashed potatoes, we get some gravy and there’s some little, we get a little slice of pie. So I mean there’s, it is a nice meal, it’s much nicer than the meals that we usually get, but there’s not enough to have leftovers put it that way. And the other thing is the officers are served the exact same thing, except that they’re allowed to get as much as they like. Plus they have a full salad bar with the whole accompaniment of things that are on the salad bar that we don’t get that they have their own officer’s mess, they eat fairly well in there at government expense.

and here

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