The following is a letter to insidetime, from issue September 2011

Kosher meals

From Dawson A6807AL – HMP Whitemoor

As a Jewish inmate at HMP Whitemoor why is it that I don’t get any kosher choice on the menu? I am given whatever the kitchen sends over and this results in me sometimes getting the same meal for 3 and 4 days running. Muslims get plenty of choice but I get none. Every time I complain about this I am fobbed off. Can you tell me what HMP has to supply to me by way of meals as a Jew?

Response from: NOMS

Owen Sidaway
Offender Employment, Skills and Services Group

Establishments are required to provide a range of meals that meet the needs of the prison population. Standards of provision which establishments must meet are set out in a Prison Service Instruction (2010/44) a copy of which is normally available within the prison library.

As regard meal provision at HMP Whitemoor my enquiries confirm that when required boxes of individual prepared meals are purchased from our nominated and approved supplier of kosher meals, Hermolis, and one meal per day is issued each evening to those who have pre - selected a kosher meal option. A record is kept of which meal each prisoner is issued, to ensure that the same meal is not repeated. Where a prisoner returns a meal due to individual taste or preference it can limit the amount of choice available. I am informed that it is highly unlikely that you would be given the same meal option 3 or 4 days running unless it was by request or choice limitations due to like and dislikes.

HMP Whitemoor, in common with other prisons, monitors food quality on a daily basis and survey the consumer population regularly through population surveys, wing food committees and consultative groups. These forums are operated to enable comments on food and meal provision to be made, recorded and where appropriate action taken.

Editorial Note: This is helpful information but if Mr Dawson is correct in what he says, and there is no reason to think he isn’t; this response doesn’t explain why Whitemoor is not following the Prison Service Instruction outlined.

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Comments about this letter

1/9/2011 John

It seems that whenever Noms, a prison, probation etc give a reponse to a question or complaint, it always seems to be the stock answer as to what should happen and doesn't address what the question or complaint was about.

26/9/2011 Gordon Smith -

When will anyone realise that the truth is an alien concept to NOMS that it is a waste of time and energy to be given replies which every one knows are dishonest.

The real truth is their are laid down rules, looks good on paper but that in reality staff do what they like and to hell with the rules.

25/3/2014 Lee

As an ex-prisoner who was in Bedford for a merifully short time 7 weeks, has nightmares with the kosher food. My first time in prison and the head of the kitchens did not like the fact that 5.50 or £7 was coming out of the budger. This filtered down to the servery boys and bred rsentment. Furthermore a Hermolis sandwich was supposed to be on offer and wa not, the normal sandwiches were not kosher as were not prepaired in kosher kitchen. Furthermore on weekend when there ere two hot meals a day I only got one hermolis, whether this kitchen person hada a grudge for me3 but if i am entitled to an extra hot meal should logically be hermolis. I wa there seven weeks and got chicken three days running but a very kind officer sent it back and told them to give me something else. The menus i believe are purely down to not being bothered but with long lasting shelf life of food, even in a local where the population changes, there should be some choice, its discimintory, please note not suggesting racest but discriminitory

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Summary of letters in the Mailbag for September 2011
Take the moral high ground
Cause of the riots? Let’s ask the rioters
Slopping out revisited
Branston not closing down
Horrendous treatment
Secret PSI?
Current page: Kosher meals
Backlash for complaining
Historic sex offence cases a travesty of justice
Drop me out!
Duvet rip off
Isolated prisoners will help raise awareness
For shame!
Missing Post
Return of al-Megrahi
Branded with the brush of denial
No confidence in MoJ
40% Deduction from wages a double jeopardy
Tackling canteen price increases
Charity should begin (and stay) at home
‘Mis-management’ of our prisons
Lie detector tests for all PMIs
HMP encouraging prisoners to break the law
How mean is means testing
Well done, son


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