Florida to offer kosher food in all prisons after lawsuit

(JTA)– The Florida Department of Corrections will offer kosher meals in all state prisons by the end of the year, an official said.

The kosher food service is slated to begin in July at a large institution in northern Florida, and will expand to 60 corrections facilities throughout Florida by the end of the year, James Upchurch, assistant Department of Corrections secretary for institutions, told a hearing in federal court on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

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He was responding to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court regarding the availability of kosher food in the correctional institutions.

The U.S. Justice Department has asked the judge in the case to issue a kosher food order to ensure that the policy remains in place, according to the AP.

In May, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals said that inmate Bruce Rich could sue for kosher meals, after they were eliminated as part of cost cutting measures.

An average of 250 inmates used the kosher meal service, including Muslims, The Associated Press reported last year. The state now offers vegetarian and vegan options.

At least thirty-five states and the federal government currently provide kosher diets in prison.


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