Prisoners are given a greater responsibility for their daily living. When introducing the self-management system concerning food (planning; cooking and eating); problems occurred; which were not expected by the staff. We were invited to visit a prison for women; where the self-management system had been introduced; to meet their daily living and discuss problems with the prisoners and the staff. We also gave some lectures and together with employees discussed the problems. Although the prison is a closed system; we found equal episodes and feelings as in society. We found fight for positions and identity with the help of food. Food is not feed. Food is a system of communication; as Mary Douglas once stated. Power; gender; ethnicity and culture are key symbols for understanding the problems. Self-management appeared to be a much more complex project than just to learn or practice cooking; which was the original idea of self-management.