Religious Meals Still Served at Passiac County Jail

December 3, 2005

Source: News

On December 3, 2005 the Herald News reported, "Religious meals have continued to be served to inmates at the Passaic County Jail, despite an internal memo in October that they would cease, an official said Friday.

Sheriff's Department spokesman Bill Maer said that at no time did the jail stop halal meals - food that meets the dietary criteria of the Islamic faith. There are between 40 and 50 Muslim inmates at the jail who have requested halal food, according to Mohamed El Filali, outreach director for the Islamic Center of Passaic County... In October, the Herald News reported that the jail had stopped serving halal meals. An internal memo dated Oct. 19 said the jail would discontinue serving halal and kosher meals, and instead provide a vegetarian diet tray with a layer of plastic wrap under and over the meal. Muslim inmates said the addition of plastic wrap did not meet their religious needs... Maer said that the internal memo seen by the Herald News was drafted by the kitchen staff, and not issued by the department itself. However, Todd Kayal, a Sheriff's Department commander, had signed the memo... The jail is being audited by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General on complaints by immigration detainees of poor conditions."