Florida to serve kosher food to Jewish inmates

Decision by Florida Dep't of Corrections ends 5-year struggle that saw US Justice Department file a lawsuit against state.

January 14, 2013 18:13
Illustrative photo

Prison jail generic. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The Florida Department of Corrections agreed to serve kosher food to Jewish inmates, ending a five-year struggle that saw the US Justice Department file a lawsuit against the state.

The Florida Department of Corrections eliminated its prison kosher food program in August, 2007, at which time an estimated 250 prisoners in Florida were enrolled in the meal program.

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However, a Justice Department complaint filed last year accused Florida of impinging on the rights of Jewish inmates by failing to offer kosher food, citing a violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 which protects prisoners' freedom of worship.

The Chabad-Lubavitch Aleph Institute, which serves the interests of Jewish inmates and soldiers around the nation, praised Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s strong advocacy on behalf of the inmates.

“The Jewish community would like to thank governor Rick Scott profusely for arranging that kosher food will be available to Jewish inmates in Florida," said Rabbi Menachem Katz of the Aleph Institute.

"This is a major milestone,” said Katz. “We want to thank the governor for understanding the importance of religious freedom in the United States of America."

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