Not long after taking over as warden of the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup, Margaret M. Chippendale noticed a sizable problem: Women were leaving the system a lot heavier than when they arrived.
She made an easy connection in the dining hall. The women were being served the same food as male prisoners, a 3,200-calorie menu filled with carbs, such as three slices of white bread at a meal.
“Women here already have a number of health issues,” Chippendale said. “This wasn’t helping.”
In an effort to stem the weight gains, and improve chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes that disproportionately affect those incarcerated, she...