Court order seeking guarantee for kosher diet for Florida inmates

MIAMI - The U.S. Department of Justice is asking a Miami federal judge to guarantee that Jewish inmates in Florida prisons can have access to a kosher diet.

Government lawyers will ask U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz at a hearing Tuesday to issue an order ensuring the state maintains kosher diet offerings. Muslim inmates are seeking to join the case so they can get halal or kosher meals as well.

In response to lawsuits, Florida officials said kosher meals would be served in prisons statewide beginning in September. But Justice Department and inmate attorneys say a court order is necessary to make sure the state doesn't rescind its policy.

Kosher and halal meals adhere to strict religious dietary rules. The inmates contend they are prevented from properly exercising their faiths.

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