Idaho inmates sue state prison service for kosher meals

(JTA) — A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of four Jewish prisoners in Idaho jails who are seeking kosher meals.

The suit filed last week by the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho requests a preliminary injunction against the state’s Department of Correction that would require the department to procure the kosher meals immediately, the Idaho Statesman reported. It also says the prison service is violating the prisoners’ constitutional rights to free exercise of religion and to equal protection.

The four inmates come from various streams of Judaism, ranging from Orthodox to Reform, according to the report.

Two of the plaintiffs ate only fruit and matzah last month because they were not provided with kosher for Passover meals, the ACLU told the newspaper.

Idaho inmates can now choose a “common fare” option, which separates dairy and meat but is not a certified kosher food. Other options include a health-choice diet, with reduced calories, fat, sodium and sugar, vegetarian and vegan meals, and a non-pork diet.

Some 35 states and the federal government provide kosher food for observant Jewish inmates.

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