US/World News

Florida prisons ordered to serve kosher meals

(JTA) – Inmates in Florida’s prisons who request kosher meals must receive them, a federal judge in Miami ruled. U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz issued the order late last week after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections on behalf of 13 inmates. The decision is the latest following years of legal wrangling. The Florida case dates to 2010, when a Jewish prisoner serving life for the 1995 murder of his parents, Bruce Rich, said the state’s refusal to provide him with a kosher meal violated his rights under federal law. More than 9,500 Florida prisoners have been approved for the kosher meals, the Associated Press reported. The department canceled its kosher meal service in 2007, citing the expense. An average of 250 inmates used the kosher meal service at that time, including Muslims. The state offers vegetarian and vegan options. The Obama administration joined the case in support of Rich in 2012. At least 35 states and the federal government provide kosher diets in prison.

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