Judge Patricia Seitz of the United States District in Miami, FL on December 5, 2013 ordered the Florida Department of Corrections to provide Kosher meals to inmates beginning July 1, 2014. That is unless the Florida Attorney General puts a stop to this raping of Florida taxpayers money.
Cost To The Taxpayers
The estimated additional cost to provide Florida housed convicts with Kosher meals would be approximately $14,952,283 per year.
This $14.9 Million dollar number is based on 6,283 convicts who identify with religious groups that have previously maintained that Kosher diets are necessary.
Seventh Day Adventists = 402 Convicts
Jewish = 2,136 Convicts
Muslim = 3,745 Convicts
Kathleen Fuhrman, Public Health Nutrition Manager for the Department of Corrections estimates the annual cost to provide an inmate Kosher meals would be $2,379 compared to $584 per year for regular meals. According to Judge Seitz’s ruling if this program goes statewide it could result in a cost upwards of $54.1 Million.
Florida’s prison system, the third-largest in the country, is projected to run a $45 million deficit this year alone and yet, in this case, we taxpayers are forced to foot the bill for this unnecessarily expense food accommodation.
The Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) already provides an alternative entree program which includes dairy and eggs but no meat or a vegan program where all animal products are avoided. These alternative entree’s are provided at little or no added expense to the taxpayer.
In and of themselves, these ‘alternative entree’s’ are Kosher, Halal, Seventh Day Adventist, Hindu, and frankly acceptable in practice for any particular religious based special dietary requirements.
The most glaring hypocrisy comes from these inmates who had already violated their deeply held religious beliefs committing crimes that landed them in prison to begin with. Therefore, it is safe to conclude, in most cases, these inmates believed their criminal activity was more important to them than following their faiths religious doctrines.
These inmates, by their own actions, are solely responsible for being wards of the state. The rights to any special diet is a luxury forfeited when they committed their crimes against society.
The FDOC has already gone above and beyond by offering vegan and dairy & egg only alternative entree’s. The FDOC has voluntarily removed all pork products from their menus as an accommodation to Muslim inmates.
Bruce Rich, one of the Plaintiff’s in this Kosher meal suit, stated in court documents that, “his soul would be negatively affected if he ingested anything non-kosher.” Was Mr. Rich’s soul negatively affected when he murdered his parents, Irving and Blanche Rich?
Prosecutors proved Rich killed his parents for their life insurance policy and will, and he tried to make their deaths look like a murder-suicide. Rich, also claimed that because of his parents’ Jewish faith, they could not be subjected to autopsy. Inmate Bruce Rich is no ‘Greener’ he is using Judaism to scam the system and Judge Seitz is his patsy.
Now Bruce Rich is trying to make the case that a Vegan diet is not Kosher because of the way alternative entree’s are prepared. Judge Patricia Seitz is allowing this travesty of religious blackmail to continue. Shame on the Aleph Institute for aiding and abetting this farce that is going to cost Florida taxpayers a minimum of $15 million per year and more likely $54 million by the time this is all over with.
CAIR-FL Says Halal Diets Are Next
In a Fox 35 News story, The Council On American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Director Hassan Shibly says making Halal food available to Muslim convicts will be a priority for his organization in 2014.
This is just another example of CAIR’s Hassan Shibly trying to game the FDOC when the vegan alternative entree fulfills Halal dietary requirements short of an Imam blessing the food. The fact that a federal court has declared CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist funding trial in U.S. history should limit their credibility with the court until their terrorist status is removed by a Federal judge.
First and Eighth Amendment Arguments
A Vegan diet does not hamper a convicts First Amendment right to practice Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Atheism, Paganism, or even Satanism. The argument could be made that forbidding a practitioner of Santeria to ritually slaughter live chickens is a violation of their freedom to practice one’s religion while incarcerated. The Santeria argument is just one example of the slippery slope these special food accommodations creates in a jailhouse institutional environment.
The Eighth Amendment protects a prisoners rights from cruel and unusual punishment. A Vegan or Vegetarian alternative entree is currently offered to inmates incarcerated in the Florida Jail System could in no way be considered cruel and unusual punishment as defined by law.
The Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi should make fighting this case a priority. If Pam Bondi caves into the unreasonable demands of the Kosher Food and Halal interests, then the real trouble begins.
CAIR-FL Director Hasan Shibly has made it very clear, he will make Halal food for convicted felons a priority issue in 2014. In light of the Vegan alternative entree currently available, one could speculate Hasan Shibly’s motivations are political/ religious blackmail of the FDOC rather than a Muslim inmates civil rights.
The big losers are the taxpayers who could be looking at prison food costs rising $50+ Million annually if these religious food requirements are instituted statewide.
It is time for Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Scott to fight these religious shakedown artist convicts and their supporters once and for all. The Florida voters will remember this outcome on election day 2014.
RELATED VIDEO: CAIR Supports Halal, Kosher Meals for Fla. Prison Inmates