Protecting the constitutional principle of the separation of state and church
Freethought Radio

Freethought Today

Vol. 21 No. 3 - Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. -
April 2004

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It Pays to Complain

Jail OKs Nonreligious Veggie Meals after FFRF Complaint

The Dane County Jail (Madison, Wis.) announced in early March that it will honor requests for vegetarian meals by inmates, even if they do not invoke "religious" reasons.

The jail had previously required inmates either to belong to a "bonafide" religion mandating vegetarianism, as determined by the jail chaplain, or to have medical reasons.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote a letter to the Dane County sheriff late last year on behalf of a woman inmate who has been a vegetarian for years. She was denied the right to choose a non-meat diet, had lost weight, and felt she was vulnerable to reprisal.

When the sheriff refused to alter the unconstitutional policy, Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Foundation publicized the complaint to local media, and appealed to Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk to intervene.

Capt. Mike Plumer, the jail supervisor, told the County Board's Public Protection and Judiciary Committee on March 9 that they will now accede to such requests.

The jail will not allow an inmate to opt out of vegetarian meals once they are chosen.

Two supervisors, Andy Olsen and Paul Rusk, hailed the change.

April 2004 Excerpts