Inmates in Washington state have been losing more than 20 pounds each during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan because of prison policies, according to a lawsuit brought by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
CAIR contends that during Ramadan, prison officials are refusing to provide prisoners with food between sundown and sunrise, the only time Muslims observing the fast are able to eat. Because they haven’t been able to eat a proper meal during those times, the inmates claim to have lost a significant amount of weight.
Four inmates, represented by CAIR, filed a lawsuit against the Washington Department of Corrections.
“We welcome the federal court’s swift intervention, which will bring this health crisis to an end and ensure that Muslim inmates are not starved and brutalized for practicing the fundamental principles of their faith,” Lena Masri, CAIR’s litigation director, said in a statement.
In CAIR’s complaint, the prison’s policy required Muslim inmates to sign up for Ramadan meals by the end of January; those who missed the deadline were required to get permission from prison chaplains to eat. However, one of the plaintiffs, Jeremy Livingston, arrived at the prison in March and was denied Ramadan meals.
In U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton’s ruling Sunday, he said that the facility must provide inmates with a balanced nutritional diet containing between 2,600 and 2,800 calories on the remaining days of Ramadan.