A judge ruled Friday that a jail in Alaska must provide suitable meals to Muslim inmates after they alleged they were being “starved” and fed pork products during Ramadan.
The ruling is in response to a lawsuit the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed on behalf of two Muslim prisoners against Alaska Department of Corrections officials.
The suit claimed that officials at the Anchorage Correctional Complex were violating the inmates’ constitutional rights and exhibiting discriminatory behavior by refusing to provide them with appropriate meals and necessary calories during Ramadan.
U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland said at the Thursday hearing that an emergency order will resemble the two inmates’ request for nutritionally adequate, pork-free food during the holy month, which started on May 16 and will end on June 15, according to the lawsuit obtained by WTOP.
The lawsuit said that those who observe Ramadan receive “cold meals” ranging from 500 to 1,100 calories, when the prisoners should be receiving hot meals totaling 2,600 to 2,800 calories per day under the state’s policy.
The state’s attorney, Matthias Cicotte, disputed allegations that the prisoners were deprived.
The hearing on Thursday didn’t settle the discussion on whether prisoners should be provided with at least 2,600 calories worth of food a day or if the daily allowance they are given should average out to that amount per week.