November 19, 2019

Jewish Prisoners in Michigan Will Get Certified Kosher Meals Under Proposed Settlement

(Justin Elson/Flickr Commons)

(JTA) — Jewish prisoners in Michigan could start receiving certified kosher meals due to a proposed settlement to a class-action lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Corrections.

There are about 200 Jewish prisoners in Michigan jails who have requested kosher meals but have since 2013 been provided with a vegan meal that is supposed to be appropriate for prisoners of all non-Christian religions, the Detroit Free Press reported. But the vegan diet lacks meat and dairy and is not prepared in a kosher kitchen, the lawsuit contends.

The settlement of the lawsuit backed by the Michigan American Civil Liberties Union was reached over the weekend.

The suit was filed originally in 2013 on behalf of inmate Michael Arnold, who has since been released from prison and removed from the complaint. It was refiled in October 2017 in U.S. District Court in Flint against the Michigan Department of Corrections.

The proposed settlement will be subject to a fairness hearing before U.S. District Judge Linda Parker in Detroit, according to the newspaper. Under the settlement the department would be required to provide a certified kosher lunch and dinner each day to the class members. Meals would have to either be prepared in prison kitchens that are certified kosher or purchased from an outside kosher vendor. There currently are no kosher kitchens in the prison system.