Oklahoma prison officials said the number of alternative meals served to the state’s Muslim inmate population has increased since a federal court settlement forced the adoption of more formal guidelines this year, reports The Oklahoman. Muslim meals, or halal meals, increased from 7,424 in January to 11,502 in April. They made up more than 38,000 of the 6.5 million total prison meals served in 2012’s first four months, said prison spokesman Jerry Massie.
Kosher, pork-free and vegetarian menu options have been available to inmates for several years, but religious meals guidelines were updated to include a more defined halal option as part of the settlement agreement in February. A federal appeals court ruled in favor of Madyn Abdulhaseeb, aka Jerry Thomas, a Muslim inmate who complained pork-free and meat-free meal alternatives offered to Muslim inmates did not meet dietary guidelines established by Islamic law. Similar rulings have been upheld in Georgia, California, and Ohio.