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article imageJewish inmate's lawsuit for matzoh and grape juice denied

By Joan Firstenberg     Aug 13, 2011 in Lifestyle
New York - Prison inmates often ask for weird things. but this one takes the cake. A Jewish inmate at Rikers Island prison for first-degree sodomy filed suit claiming the jail violated his first-degree rights by not giving him daily matzoh and weekly grape juice.
Prisoner Christopher Henry is already receiving regular kosher meals at Rikers. But Henry claimed he was suffering "permanent trauma" and "malnourishment", in addition to which his First Amendment rights were being violated by not receiving what he was entitled to, namely matzoh on a daily basis (not just on Passover) and grape juice on Friday nights.
The Gothamist reports that his suit stated very nicely that he was really hoping the government would pay him $9,999,000 ($10 billion) in damages.
But The Jerusalem Post reports that on August 2nd US Southern District Judge Schira Scheindlin ruled that,
"Providing individualized meals to a single inmate might well foster an impression of favoritism, which could lead to jealousy and resentment among the inmate population, which in turn could cause tension and threaten prison security. Similarly, providing individualized meals to one or several inmates would involve a substantial increase in administrative costs."
Scheindlin noted that among the privileges that Henry is entitled to is a meeting with a rabbi.
Henry, who represented himself in this suit, has filed a number of lawsuits against the department of corrections. This was the first for food, but others include claims based on the allowed length of phone calls and the lack of conjugal visits.
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