GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- An inmate at a Grand Rapids jail is suing for the right to be served kosher meals, saying he's lost 30 pounds while eating only greens, bread and cereal.
Bradley Sleighter says even those meals probably are unclean under his Jewish faith because the trays are exposed to meat. He's been in the Kent County jail since January, serving a nine-month sentence for retail fraud.
Kent County Undersheriff Jon Hess tells The Grand Rapids Press the jail has a special menu only for medical needs.
The 54-year-old Sleighter filed his own lawsuit in federal court. He wants a sealed kosher meal and a financial award for every day without it. He says the jail should build a kosher kitchen if it can't acquire kosher meals from the outside.
"Special diets: Special religious diets often raise issues of cost, and sometimes also raise questions related to the Establishment Clause, which prohibits endorsement of one religion above others. Courts have often required prisons to accommodate prisoners' religious diets, but usually allow them to do so in a way that is least costly or difficult for them. Ashelman v. Wawrzaszek, 111 F.3d 674 (9th Cir. 1997); Beerheide v. Suthers, 286 F.3d 1179 (10th Cir. 2002); Makin v. Colorado Dept. of Corrections, 183 F.3d 1205 (10th Cir. 1999). If there is an alternative way for a prisoner to exercise his dietary beliefs, like by choosing vegetarian options, courts will usually not find a violation. Williams v. Morton, 343 F.3d 212 (3d Cir. 2003)."