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Lox behind bars in New York prisons.

New York corrections officials are attempting to take a bite out of crime with development of a kosher meal plan for Jewish inmates. Criminal justice experts are interested in finding out if the program will contribute to prisoner rehabilitation.

The meal plan is an attempt by prison authorities to meet reasonable religious needs and to respect the religious inclination of inmates.

New York will begin providing the meals in all of its 68 prison facilities in April 1994, and will become the first state to provide a kosher diet for inmates statewide.

Before 1992, Jewish inmates wishing to observe dietary laws could apply for admittance to Green Haven, a maximum security prison and the only one in the system to serve kosher meals.

Senator Donald Halperin, who pushed the move, says the use of Green Haven for inmates who sought kosher meals, but would not otherwise have been sentenced to a maximum security facility, was a waste of prison space.

New York has 907 Jewish convicts who make up 1.5 percent of the state inmate population of 64,398. Now Muslim inmates, who make up 17 percent of the population, are hoping for a meal plan for their dietary needs.

For more information, call Mike Bintz, assistant to the commissioner, New York State Department of Correctional Services, at (518) 457-1281, or Bennett Epstein, spokesman for the Committee for Kosher Food in New York Correctional Facilities, at (212) 684-1230.
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Title Annotation:On First Reading; corrections officials to offer kosher meal to Jewish inmates
Publication:State Legislatures
Date:Jan 1, 1994
Words:239
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