Prison certainly isn't a gastronome's paradise—at least not anymore—but it's been a special kind of hell for a Buddhist inmate who has been repeatedly served fish, in violation of his strict vegetarian diet. Howard Cosby, who has been incarcerated in the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution in Connecticut, claims the prison has served him fish three times a week despite his required animal-free diet. After repeated administrative complaints were ignored by prison officials, Cosby has made an appeal to PETA for help.
According to the corrections facility, fish doesn't qualify as meat and therefore Cosby's diet has met the criteria for vegetarian. "Cleary fish is meat," Jeff Kerr, an attorney for PETA told the Daily News. "They have thoughts. They have interests. They have a central nervous system. They are not swimming vegetables." A letter was sent to the warden yesterday citing the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which requires prisons to abide by inmates' religious observances whenever possible. So far the prison has declined to comment.
The organization hopes the prison will follow with other institutions who have capitulated to inmates' dietary requests. "We can't imagine they would want to make a federal case out of this," Kerr said. "It seems so simple to just comply with his request, as the federal law requires them to do." Inmates in other facilities have suffered grievously at the hands of strict mealtime rules that ignore preexisting dietary and lifestyle requirements.