Scottish prisoners request kosher meals believing they are ‘nicer’

(JTA) – More than 100 inmates in a Scottish prison have signed up to receive kosher meals, despite the fact that there were officially nine Jewish prisoners in Scottish jails from 2013-2014.

An official at Glenochil Prison in Clackmannanshire, Scotland said the prison must provide the kosher meals to the prisoners if they claim to have converted to Judaism, the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported Wednesday.

“Where previously we have always had a very minimal Jewish prison population we have seen a huge rise,” prison spokesman Tom Fox said.

Prison officials believe the inmates think the kosher meals are “nicer.”

“I don’t think the prisoners themselves understand the preparation that has to go into providing a kosher meal,” Fox said.

The meals are outsourced since the prison does not have a kosher kitchen. The meals cost much more than regular prison fare.

“I think there is the assumption that by identifying as a particular religion, that you will get you better food in prison but that is not always the case,” Fox said. “And we have to do what we have to do; if someone says they are a particular religion we are not allowed to question that.”

In July, the state of Florida appealed a 2015 decision by a Miami judge requiring kosher food for anyone who requests it, including Jews, Muslims, Seventh-day Adventists and people of other faiths, accounting for about 10,000 – or 10 per cent – of all inmates.

The kosher meals program is estimated to cost the Florida Department of Corrections $12.3 million a year.

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