Plaintiff alleges that Muslim inmates sued the ODRC seeking accommodation of their religious dietary restrictions. He contends Gary Mohr issued a statement on May 1, 2011 indicating the ODRC settled this lawsuit, and as part of the settlement, agreed to eliminate pork from all meals served to Ohio prison inmates. Plaintiff asserts that this part of the agreement violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, subjects him to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, denies him substantive and procedural due process, and denies him Equal Protection.
The plaintiff is James Ed Rivers, an inmate. ODRC is the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and Gary Mohr is ODRC’s director. The lawsuit contends that the permanently eliminating of pork from the menu is tantamount to establishing Islam as an official religion. ODRC countered that eliminating pork was more practical than creating separate menus, and that Islam isn’t the only religion that specifically bans pork (um… can anybody name three?).
Let’s just ignore the “cruel and unusual” aspect.
The United States District Court Northern District of Ohio ruled on this lawsuit on April 5, essentially that Rivers has no constitutional right to eat pork, nor any nutritional need, and therefore wasn’t being harmed by pork-free menu.
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© 2012 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.