Inmate can sue over kosher food


South Dakota’s highest court reinstated a lawsuit by an inmate over his prison’s kosher food preparation.

Charles Sisney, a convicted murderer, claimed the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls violated his religious rights by changing how it prepares kosher food.

His suit, which was reinstated in a July 23 ruling by the state Supreme Court after having been dismissed by a lower state court, would require prison officials to use prepackaged kosher meals.

The penitentiary stopped using the prepackaged meals in February 2007 and now cooks some of the food served in its kosher diet in the prison kitchen, according to The Associated Press.

The prison signed an agreement eight years ago saying it would provide a kosher diet, including prepackaged meals, to Jewish inmates who make the request. Sisney claimed he was a practicing Jew and asked for kosher meals after the agreement was signed, three years after he entered the prison.


The Supreme Court said Sisney had a right to file the lawsuit since the agreement in 2000 covered all Jewish inmates from that time on.

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