GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A Kent County inmate has filed a federal lawsuit against the jail because it has refused to serve him a Jewish kosher meal.
Federal court documents show that 54-year-old Bradley Sleighter, who is serving nine months in the Kent County Correctional Facility for retail fraud, filed the lawsuit in Grand Rapids U.S. District Court.
In the suit, Sleighter demands jail officials provide him with a packaged, sealed kosher meal.
"If the jail is unwilling to provide packaged kosher meals provided from an outside source, then they must build a Jewish kosher kitchen," the suit, which Sleighter wrote, reads.
Sleighter says in the suit that he has lost 30 pounds since the start of his incarceration in January.
"I am only eating salad, coleslaw, bread and breakfast cereal, and even this violates kosher law because it is served on a tray that the meat is on, which is not kosher," the suit reads. "Therefore it is considered unclean for Jews to eat."
The suit also requests punitive damages for every day jail officials refuse to provide him with a kosher meal.
Kent County Undersheriff Jon Hess told 24 Hour News 8 the jail provides meals based upon medical requirement and a daily 2,400-caloric intake, as the jail handbook requires.
"We do not give special diets based on personal preference," Hess said.
Personal preference in this case includes Sleighter's religious preference.
An inmate who is experiencing a physical problem with the jail meal being served, as in the case of a food allergy or other medical complication, has the option to inform the nurse, and their diet will be reviewed by a doctor, Hess said.
Hess said the sheriff's department has not yet been served with the federal lawsuit.
Michigan state prisons do provide kosher meals to inmates upon request, according to Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman John Cordell.
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