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article image'It's not Kosher.' says condemned inmate about his prison food

By Karen Graham     Nov 13, 2014 in World
A Connecticut inmate awaiting execution for his part in the home invasion and murder of a mother and her two daughters in 2007 has filed a complaint with the judicial system again. This time, he says his food is not guaranteed to be strictly Kosher.
Steven Hayes, the complainant in the suit filed against the Connecticut Department of Corrections, was sentenced to death in 2010. Joshua Komisarjevsky, Hayes' accomplice, was given a death sentence in 2012. Both were found guilty in the murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela at their home in Cheshire in 2007. The victims were tied up and the mother and 11-year-old child were sexually assaulted before the house was set on fire. The husband, Dr. William Petit, was severely beaten but survived.
Arrest photo of Steven Hayes.
Arrest photo of Steven Hayes.
Hayes describes himself as an Orthodox Jew in his lawsuit, and says he has been requesting a Kosher diet since May 2013, according to the Associated Press. Hayes goes on to say he has suffered greatly, going through "almost two years of emotional injury from having to choose between following God and starving or choosing sin to survive."
The amended complaint was made public on Wednesday, Nov. 12. In it, Hayes says he has not eaten any non-Kosher food since August 24, and now weighs less than 120 pounds. Connecticut Correction records show that Hayes, 5-feet 7-inches tall, weighed 270 pounds in 2007.
Arrest photo of Joshua Komisarjevsky.
Arrest photo of Joshua Komisarjevsky.
The corrections department contends that Kosher food is offered to Hayes and other inmates requiring a Kosher diet. Karen Martucci, a Correction Department spokeswoman, says Hayes has told corrections officials he is not on a hunger strike. While Martucci did not comment on the lawsuit, she did say that prisoners with special dietary needs were served what is called "common fare" meals. They "meet all nutritional requirements and accommodate recognized religious dietary restrictions."
This latest lawsuit is not the only time Hayes has attempted to get some extra publicity out of his incarceration and execution. He has also filed complaints about mental health care, harassment from prison staff and the temperature in his cell. He also accuses prison staff of putting him on a suicide watch after he observed a fast during Yom Kippur last year.
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