Jailed Jesus fights for right to kosher food

By Jennifer Lipman, January 17, 2012

A Californian prisoner called Jesus is fighting for the right to be served kosher meals.

Margarito Jesus Garcia is serving a 15 year sentence for second degree murder.

Born a Catholic, he claims he has been practising Messianic Judaism for two years and that he should therefore be given kosher food. The prison's Jewish chaplain has dismissed his newfound faith as insincerely held.

But this week justices at the California Third District Court of Appeals ruled that if the prison refused then it would be violating Garcia's rights.

Kosher meals cost the state's prison system some five dollars per day more than non-kosher ones do.

In 2010 a judge in Indiana ruled that a prison's decision to scrap kosher meals in favour of vegan ones was a breach of the rights of more than 90 prisoners. Earlier this month the American Civil Liberties Union asked a judge to hold the Indiana prison department in contempt because it had still not changed its policy.

Last updated: 11:28am, January 17 2012