93ºF

State, feds say prison kosher meals issue resolved

photo

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – More than three years after a federal judge issued an injunction to ensure that kosher meals would be provided to religiously observant Florida inmates, state and federal officials say court oversight is no longer needed.

Attorneys for the Florida Department of Corrections and the U.S. Department of Justice filed a joint motion last week in U.S. district court in South Florida urging termination of the injunction.

“The parties have worked together since issuance of the injunction to ensure that the remedy this court ordered is implemented in a sustainable manner,” the motion said. “Both parties now believe that defendant (the Department of Corrections) offers and will continue to provide a kosher diet to prisoners with a sincere religious basis for seeking the diet.”

U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz in 2015 ruled in a long-running dispute and granted federal officials’ request to monitor kosher meals in prisons.

The motion filed last week said the Department of Corrections, as of Sept. 15, was providing a kosher diet to 5,500 prisoners at 127 facilities.

“To ensure that the program is implemented as ordered, both parties have conducted oversight,” the motion said. “Defendant has conducted periodic audits of the program and provided them to plaintiff (the Department of Justice) as requested. Defendant has trained (and continues to train) its chaplains in the proper implementation and maintenance of the (program).”