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Tenth Circuit Upholds Decision
Ordering Colorado Department of Corrections
to Provide Kosher Meals to Prisoners

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Beerheide v. Suthers, No. 00-1086 (10th Cir. April 11, 2002), upheld a lower court ruling ordering the Colorado Department of Corrections to provide properly-certified kosher meals to prisoners.

The original suit was brought by a group of Jewish prisoners after they had been denied kosher foods. Colorado prison officials argued that the cost of kosher was substantially higher and that they were offering the prisoners alternatives such as vegetarian foods. The prison had even sought to charge prisoners a surcharge for the kosher food. The Court, however, did not accept the arguments, noting that, while the cost of kosher food was indiputably higher, "we cannot say the district court was clearly erroneous in finding that it could not evaluate the impact on the DOC budget on this record. The DOC failed to present reliable evidence that the cost impact would be more than de minimis."  The Circuit Court also found that the vegetarian meals were not properly supervised or kosher and that the prisoners should not have to pay for the meals.

The Aleph Institute (, which has acted as "of counsel" or has submitted briefs in practically all of the leading religious freedom and prisoner kosher meal suits in recent years, submitted an amicus curae brief on behalf of the Jewish prisoners.

>> To read the full decision, click here ________________________________________

Submitted by --
Isaac M. Jaroslawicz
Executive Director & Director of Legal Affairs
The Aleph Institute
9540 Collins Avenue / Surfside, Florida 33154-7127
P 305.864.5553  |  F 305.864.8269

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