Florida Prisons To Serve Kosher Food – What Other Proof Is Needed To Know Israel Controls Florida?

Florida has been ordered to offer kosher food to its inmates following a test case brought by the US Department of Justice.

Despite having a significant Jewish community and the country’s third largest prison population, the state stopped offering kosher food or catering to other religious dietary requirements on grounds of cost in 2007.

However a federal judge found that Florida had violated a law in 2000 protecting inmates’ religious freedom.

When Florida starts serving kosher food again in July, it will be the 35th state to do so, along with federal prisons.

“Most states do provide kosher diets, even Texas where there are about 25-30 Jewish inmates,” said Eric Rassbach, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Of the remaining states that don’t, they tend not to be ones with a big Jewish population. I don’t think there is a large number of observant Jewish inmates in North Dakota.
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“Florida had made it seem as if the sky would fall in and providing kosher food would blow a whole in their budget.”

The state has around 100,000 inmates in its prisons. According to the latest official figures just over 2,100 are Jewish.

But according to Michael Crews, who is due to take over responsibility for Florida’s prison system in March, there have been more than 4,400 requests for kosher meals.

He told local legislators that it costs his department £4.25 ($7) a day to provide three kosher meals, compared with 94p ($1.54) for standard food. His department is currently facing £35.2 million ($58 million) deficit.

A spokesman for the Florida Department of Corrections, said that prison chaplains in the state would start working with prisoners to decide who should be eligible for the kosher meals.

Across the country as a whole it is estimated that only a sixth of the 24,000 inmates currently being served kosher food are observant Jews.

But Mr Rassbach, who accused Florida of being stubborn over the issue, said he believed that that respecting religious beliefs should not present a problem.

“If somebody has a sincere belief they need kosher food, then the state should be able to provide it to them.”