... it costs about $2.66 (euro1.96) daily to serve inmates three regular meals. Kosher meals cost the same, but with costs for disposable containers and transportation, since the food was not prepared in each facility, the price came to about $4.71 (euro3.47) daily. Prepackaged kosher meals would have cost roughly $12 (euro8.84) to $15 (euro11.05) daily per prisoner, according to the department, but also may have come with additional costs for transport and supplementation with additional food items.
Kosher meals were served to both Muslims and Jews alike, because the Florida prison system does not serve Halal food and Kosher foods are prepared in a similar manner:
both exclude pork and mandate a specific way in which an animal is to be killed. Kosher laws also dictate the way food is cooked.
Florida State mandates 3 meals be served to inmates, 2 of which must be hot. It also stipulates that "inmates who wish to observe religious dietary laws receive a diet sufficient to sustain them in good health without violating those dietary laws.''
Rabbi Jack Romberg of Temple Israel in Tallahassee, who was a member of a group that reviewed religious dietary accommodations in prisons, noted that unless the vegan food is prepared separately from other meals, it would not satisfy kosher law.
Ahmed Bedier of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Tampa said vegan food would meet the religious requirements of those who follow a halal diet, but would cause undue hardship. ``Either you have a choice of violating your own religion beliefs or you're coerced to only eat vegan,'' Bedier said. ``That's probably not a reasonable accommodation.''
Call me insensitive but, hey, they're lucky they even have those options!! Now, I'm a vegetarian and I understand the need to adhere to certain dietary restrictions: when the airline industry still served food (if you could call it that) rather than those pitiful snacks, I'd always request a veggie meal or a fruit plate and they were very happy to comply. Some airlines actually had various kinds of veggie meals. But these men and women are in prison, not on some jaunt from Miami to L.A.! When you commit a crime you relinquish your rights to special dietary concessions.
No surprise, Florida State has already been sued (still unresolved) by the Florida Justice Institute on behalf of Muslims denied their right to Halal meals, and you can bet this next decision is going to cause an uproar.