Scottish prison sees number of 'Jewish' inmates soar as they claim kosher meals


A prison in Scotland has seen the number of inmates identifying as Jewish rise in a scam thought to get them “nicer” kosher meals.

More than 100 inmates at Glenochil Prison in Clackmannanshire have signed up to receive kosher meals.

The prison authorities have had no choice to provide the meals to prisoners after they claimed to have converted to Judaism.

Tom Fox, spokesperson for Glenochil Prison, explained: “By law we have got to provide food for anyone who states they have a religious requirement to it.

“And it is true to say, where previously we have always had a very minimal Jewish prison population we have seen a huge rise.”

According to government statistics there were nine Jewish prisoners in Scottish jails from 2013 to 2014.

And the Scottish Prison Service is duty bound to provide food in line with inmates religious beliefs.

It is thought to be costing the prison service thousands of pounds more to feed the inmates as all the food has to be outsourced because the prison doesn’t have a kosher kitchen facility.

Mr Fox said: “I don’t think the prisoners themselves understand the preparation that has to go into providing a kosher meal.

“It has to be overseen by a rabbinic body and as such the food that ends up coming in has to be pre-packaged.

“I think there is the assumption that by identifying as a particular religion, that you will get you better food in prison but that is not always the case.

“And we have to do what we have to do; if someone says they are a particular religion we are not allowed to question that.”

Scottish Council of Jewish Communities director, Ephraim Borowski, told the Jewish Telegraph: "The prison authorities have taken advice from both SCoJeC and rabbinic authorities to clarify the needs of genuinely Jewish prisoners, but the underlying issue is simply that their own regulations do not allow them to question the veracity of religious claims made by prisoners."

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