Prison Food Stinks, Says Oklahoma City Conspirator

Extremists in Prison

Mass murderer Terry Nichols doesn't like the food in prison. It's bad, he complains. It makes him suffer "chronic constipation, bleeding and hemorrhoids," according to a lawsuit filed in April by Nichols, who conspired with Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, an act of domestic terrorism that killed 168 people, 19 of them children. In the suit, Nichols, who's serving a life sentence at the Supermax prison in Florence, Colo., contends that "God created mankind to consume unrefined whole foods" that "work in a synergistic way to keep one's body (i.e. God's holy temple) in good health to ward off various diseases."

After describing his bowel movements in cringe-inducing detail, Nichols demands that prison officials be forced to provide him with a high-fiber diet that includes whole grains along with fresh vegetables and fruit daily. He argues that Supermax prison food amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. "Plaintiff is compelled to consume daily those unhealthy dead and refined foods that are abhorrent to plaintiff's sincerely held religious beliefs, causing him physical, mental and spiritual torment," Nichols asserts in his self-filed complaint.

As supporting evidence, Nichols includes declarations from six fellow Supermax inmates with digestive complaints, including Eric Robert Rudolph, the abortion clinic and Olympic Park bomber whose four bombings killed two people, including a police officer, and injured more than 150. Rudolph asserts that "refined and highly processed" food causes him "constipation, gas and stomach cramps."

On April 23, a federal judge denied Nichols' request for a preliminary injunction. U.S. Magistrate Judge Boyd Boland ruled there was nothing in Nichols' motion to show that he faces immediate danger of serious injury. Boland also pointed out that Nichols has been at the Supermax prison for four years but is only now expressing his distaste for white bread.

Other issues raised by Nichols in the lawsuit include his treatment by federal Bureau of Prisons staff who, he alleges, have subjected him to "discrimination, prejudice, animosity, vindictiveness and retaliation," because the media has "stereotyped Mr. Nichols as a terrorist." "Mr. Nichols is not a terrorist," the lawsuit declares, despite his conviction on 161 counts of premeditated murder, including one case of fetal homicide, and eight counts of involuntary manslaughter — not to mention conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.

But he is a health nut.