During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during the daytime and eat at night. Such a practice presents a problem behind bars, where the routine of prison life revolves around a fixed schedule of meals. The MDoC gave Muslim inmates a choice: They could either break their fast and eat, or stay true to their religion and starve. Heard and his colleagues chose the latter but then sued.
After the initial suit, the courts ruled that the inmates’ religious rights could not be violated. However, in the newest legal action the inmates’ lawyers argue that the earlier court order was ignored, and the MDoC continued to deprive their clients of sufficient nutrition repeatedly.
In the original lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan in 2009, Lamont Heard and three other inmates complained they had received less than half the calories prisons are required to feed inmates during their Ramadan fast.
According to the complaint, the inmates should have received 352,000 calories during the five weeks of Ramadan, but instead consumed somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000, causing the prisoners to shed up to seven pounds weekly. In each Ramadan between 2009 and 2012, the plaintiffs were fed as little as 1,000 calories a day, the complaint states. Following the judge’s 2013 order, the MDoC upped the count to 1,900 on good days, according to court documents.
Dan Manville, attorney with MSU Civil Rights Clinic, told Vice that the continued violation stems from incompetence. Previously, the state had dropped an extra scoop of food on the Muslim inmates’ Ramadan dinner trays, but the department changed its policies following 2009 budget cuts.
“It seems like an act of stupidity more than anything,” Manville told Vice.
“I don’t think there was anyone conspiring against them in the head echelon of DOC, but [MDoC bosses] just didn’t understand the reality of what happens in life. You’re supposed to feed prisoners 2,350 calories a day, whether it’s in two meals or three meals.”
It seems the stupidity is with the faux Muslims who chose not to eat the calories they were given. Now taxpayers have to pay even more for these criminals. But get this, the convicted murdering Muslim claims if he doesn’t get his calories he’s likely to murder again. What a pious Muslim.
“I’m trying to use my relationship with God to obtain rehabilitation, [but some people might say,] ‘He in there for murder. Who cares about food and calories?’ If I’m hungry all the time, that’s going to turn me into what I’m trying not to be anymore—a criminal who hurts someone else, hurts a guard,” he says. “If they don’t want me to focus on rehab, instead I’m going to focus on destructive things.”
Heard is part of the Nation of Islam – the black separatist Muslim group that wants to stalk and kill white people.
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