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Inmate Sues Over Jail’s Refusal To Serve Kosher Meals

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GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ/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 said 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 said the jail does not provide a special meal based on inmates’ religious beliefs.

“We provide a diet based on medical needs,” Hess told The Grand Rapids Press.

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 said the jail should build a kosher kitchen if it can’t acquire kosher meals from the outside.

The county has not been served with the lawsuit.

In a similar complaint filed years ago, a judge said the jail did not need to provide special meals as long as the caloric value of the food met minimum standards when non-kosher foods are removed.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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