SATURDAY, JANUARY 10, 2009

Religious Meals In Federal Prison

Over the last few weeks I’ve received several questions from men preparing to self-surrender to Taft Federal Prison Camp. To ensure that everyone benefits, I decided to answer their questions via a daily blog post.

To my surprise, I received a Hanukkah card from Rahim who plans to self-surrender to Taft Camp in late March. Rahim thanked me for helping ease his concerns over his upcoming incarceration. I’m not sure how Rahim knew I was Jewish. Have I written that? Perhaps my dear mother edited a blog and threw it in. Rahim … thank you for your card … I look forward to meeting you in March.

Rahim had a question about the religious meals available. Prior to receiving his question, I knew little on the subject. I’m confident I’ve gathered enough information to help.

In order to accommodate special meals, the BOP (Bureau of Prisons) makes common fare meals available to those inmates who choose. Common fare meals meet Kosher and other religious requirements. I must note that inmates who choose common fare meals are prohibited from eating anything else in the chow hall. Commissary items are also restricted. Disciplinary action could be taken against those caught cheating. That includes inmates who work on the out crew. One major advantage to joining the out crew is enjoying the massive amounts of food the local community provides as a thank you. Recently, an inmate working on the outcrew, while receiving common fare meals, was caught gorging himself on anything he could find. He lost phone privileges and his commissary for one month.

Administrators also make provisions for the Muslim inmates who fast between sunup and sundown during the Ramadan season. During Ramadan, Muslim inmates (who sign up) and cannot eat regularly served meals, are provided with meals at certain times that are in accordance with their religious beliefs.

Justin Paperny

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