Steven Hayes, who was convicted of raping and murdering three people (including two children) in Cheshire, Connecticut, and sentenced to death, is now suing the Connecticut Department of Correction for failing to provide him Kosher meals while in prison. Hayes was not Jewish when he entered prison, but is now calling himself an Orthodox Jew after he “signed up for Judaism.”
In his handwritten lawsuit, filed in federal court, Hayes complains that he has lost weight and is starving because the food he is served in prison is not kosher.
The defendants “have been denying a kosher diet I have been requesting since approximately May of 2013,” he writes in his lawsuit. “As an orthodox practicing Jew I am entitled to a kosher diet that follows the Jewish dietary laws of kashrut.” Kashrut specifies what food Jews can eat and how it must be prepared.
The career criminal further complains that the kitchen at Northern Correctional Institution does not have an “orthodox kosher certificate or a Jewish overseer to maintain strict kosher storage, prep and cooking standards.”
All meals at Northern, Hayes claims, are prepared using the same pots, pans, utensils, prep surfaces, washing and storage areas and cooking appliances. He further complains that kitchen staff has told him that “common fare” served at Northern is “kosher like.”
“Kosher-like is not kosher,” Hayes declared in the lawsuit.