Michigan Settles Lawsuit with Vegan Prisoner

In federal court, a judge rules in favor of serving vegan meals in prison.

Michigan has agreed to pay $20,000 to settle a lawsuit by a vegan prisoner who had been denied special meals in prison since 2010. In federal court, a judge ruled that 80-year-old inmate George Hall has a right to vegan meals because of his religious beliefs. In the United States, prisons are required to provide special meals for inmates due to religious requirements or medical conditions, but most do not provide vegetarian meals for prisoners who request them for ethical reasons. Hall is not the first prisoner to encounter difficulties with his diet—a Marin County, CA, jail received criticism in 2011 from the American Civil Liberties Union when it denied a 70-year-old inmate vegetarian meals, causing him to lose 50 pounds during a 99-day sentence. Similarly, in April, actress Pamela Anderson promoted the country’s first meatless meal program at Arizona’s Maricopa County jail. “I believe people can be rehabilitated from the inside out," Anderson said. "Jails are full of people wanting to change, to make amends, to learn healthier habits, and understand compassion and empathy."

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