After six years of denying inmates access to kosher meals due to the high cost, the Florida prisons service will now be required to provide them to those with a "sincere religious basis," under a federal court ruling.
A federal judge ordered the Florida prisons service to provide kosher meals to all prisoners with a "sincere religious basis."
Judge Patricia Seitz of the U.S. District Court in Miami in a ruling issued earlier this month required that the order be implemented by July 1, the Miami Herald reported.
The Florida Department of Corrections had promised to reinstitute its kosher meal service in all its facilities by the end of this year but had been dragging its heels.
In August 2012, the U.S. government sued the corrections department in the Miami federal court for ending the kosher service, saying the current meal policy violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 that allows prisoners to worship according to their religious beliefs. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 13 inmates.
Kosher meals are now offered at one state prison, according to the Herald.
The department canceled its kosher meal service six years ago, citing the expense. An average of 250 inmates used the kosher meal service, including Muslims, The Associated Press reported. The state now offers vegetarian and vegan options.
At least 35 states, including Pennsylvania, and the federal government provide kosher diets in prison. The Pennsylvania prison system has had its share of problems with inmates claiming to eat kosher in order to receive what they perceived as superior food, according to a report The Jewish Press released in February.