Proposal Would Add Muslim Meals to Prison Fare

January 22, 2010

Author: E.J. Schultz

Source: The Fresno Bee

James Fredrick Menefield lost his freedom eight years ago when he was sent to prison for murdering his girlfriend. But the Pleasant Valley State Prison inmate says he should not lose the right to follow dietary rules that come with his strict Muslim faith.

The state of California is on the verge of agreeing with him.

In proposed regulations, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation wants to add the religiously prepared "halal" meat option to prison menus, which already include Jewish kosher and vegetarian meals.

The department is seeking the change in the face of pressure from several Muslim inmates who have filed lawsuits alleging discrimination. Inmate attorneys have seized on the department's decision in 2006 to offer special kosher meals to Jewish inmates.