Researchers from the University of Surrey in the UK have suggested a novel method of reducing the number of offences committed by young offenders - feed them fresh vegetables.
Bernard Gesch, lead author of the study, said that feeding the offenders cabbages, carrots and other fresh vegetables could help cut the number of offences they commit by more than a quarter, because the vitamins contained in these products helped reduce the anti-social behaviour of the prisoners.
Gesch's team studied 230 inmates aged between 18 and 21 at Aylesbury young offenders' institution in Buckinghamshire in the UK, half of whom were given dietary supplements while the rest were given a placebo.
The researchers then recorded the number of offences committed by the study participants in the nine months before they were sent to the institution and in the nine months following their release.
The group which received the supplements was found to commit a quarter fewer offences compared with the placebo group. The biggest reduction was for serious offences including violence, with a 40 per cent decline for the supplemented group compared to no reduction at all for the placebo group.
Whether the simple supplementation of diets with vitamins will be able to help the UK ease its dangerously high levels of prison overcrowding remains to be seen, but the British government is clearly keen to explore any potential solutions - it provided funding for the Surrey research. Whether this is money well spent, only time will tell.