Prisoners do not have a constitutional right to daily matzoh and weekly grape juice, a federal judge has ruled. Even if they ask really nicely! The decision from U.S. Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin came in response to a suit brought forth by a man named Christopher Henry, who is serving time on Rikers for first-degree sodomy.
Henry claims that he has suffered "permanent trauma" and malnourishment due to what he called a violation of his First Amendment rights. And he was really hoping the government would pony up $9,999,000,000 in damages. Henry felt that he was entitled to matzoh daily (not just during Passover) and that he should get grape juice on Friday nights in addition to the Kosher meals he already receives.
But Judge Scheindlin broke his dreams like an afikoman, ruling that, "Providing individualized meals to a single inmate might well foster an impression of favoritism, which could lead to jealousy and resentment among the inmate population, which in turn could cause tension and threaten prison security. Similarly, providing individualized meals to one or several inmates would involve a substantial increase in administrative costs."
Scheindlin also pointed out that as far as Henry's religious rights were concerned, he was also free to meet with a rabbi.