Florida prisons ordered to serve kosher meals
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Florida prisons ordered to serve kosher meals

Federal judge rules prisoners requesting such food much receive it; decision following years of legal wrangling

Illustrative photo of kosher seals. (Photo credit: Kosher symbols image via Shutterstock.)
Illustrative photo of kosher seals. (Photo credit: Kosher symbols image via Shutterstock.)

Inmates in Florida’s prisons who request kosher meals must receive them, a federal judge in Miami ruled.

US 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 two sides have until Wednesday to come up with a way to implement the plan.

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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