VENICE (CBSLA) — Visitors to the First Friday Street Fair in Venice got a taste of prison life — literally.

The Prison Food Pop-Up offered standard prison fare — including cheese sandwiches — and gave visitors a chance to speak with former inmate and entrepreneur Andrew Medal who said the event was a fun way to promote his new book and launch his new initiative, Street Smarter.

Medal said his new book, “Don’t Drop the Soap,” provides a comedic look at what life is really like behind bars.

“People have a stigma about what prison life is like — inmates, who they are, the people,” he said. “So the whole goal of this book is to bring awareness in a comedic way, to make light of the situation, but then to also talk about the seriousness of the fact that we do need reform.”

Since being released, Medal has become an advocate for prison reform. And, through his Street Smarter initiative, Medal helps to empower former inmates by teaching them the skills they need to be successful in a digital world.

Along with the food, the pop-up offered visitors opportunities to pose for mug shots, purchase shirts and buy Medal’s book.

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