Protein and parole – that combination launched CITA’s health and decision-making work with Washington judicial officers in late 2014. Dr. Kristen Allott, a Naturopathic Physician and expert on nutrition and brain function, introduced the judges to an Israeli study that found parole boards made progressively harsher decisions the longer they went without eating. She went on to explain the neurobiology behind this study and the importance of eating sufficient protein when fair, informed decisions need to be made. Many of the judicial officers in the room were intrigued and have since successfully implemented Dr. Allott’s tools and advice in their daily lives.
A short video explaining the study was recently produced by the New York Times, in its series on implicit bias. You can view the “Snacks and Punishment” video here.
Parent Allies who attended the judges’ training saw how this information could help parents better participate in their dependency cases. Working with Dr. Allott and CITA, they developed tools to help parents optimize their brain function during high stakes events, such as appearing in court and participating in evaluations and visits. Following a popular session at the 2016 Children’s Justice Conference in Spokane, the Protein for All movement was born. Courts in Spokane, Thurston and King Counties now have programs that provide protein-rich snacks to parents when they come to court. Attorneys, Parent Allies and evaluators have told us that they ensure that parents eat a meal including protein before important hearings or assessments. And they are seeing positive results – for parents and for themselves.
Now, there is a new Protein for All website - www.proteinforall.org - created by Dr. Allott and funded by the University of Washington Court Improvement Training Academy (CITA) to help everybody “have the chance to be at their best when it matters the most.” The site offers tools, including videos, handouts and even recipes, and a blog where dependency partners can ask questions and share ideas. We hope you’ll check it out!