Governor Hochul Signs into Law Legislation Sponsored by Senator Ramos and Assemblyman Eichenstein Ensuring Dietary Laws at Correctional Facilities

NYS Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a new bill sponsored by Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, which will require state correctional facilities to provide kosher and halal food options at vending machines and commissary areas. 

Until now, food options for purchase at vending machines and commissary areas often did not include selections for incarcerated individuals who require special religious dietary restrictions.This new bill will amend the current law to include options which would satisfy the dietary needs of such individuals at prices comparable to other similar food items.

“I believe that recognizing an incarcerated person’s humanity is a key factor in their rehabilitation,” said Senator Jessica Ramos. “Denying Jewish people in prison access to kosher foods is an added and targeted punishment, one that Governor Hochul is helping to correct by signing my bill with Assemblymember Eichenstein. I’d like to thank our local rabbis and faith leaders for their vocal and continued support of these efforts as we turn our attention to ensuring the same access is extended to public schools.”

“The State of New York is obligated to respect the religious dietary rights of its residents, even those who are incarcerated,” said Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein. “These individuals will now be able to benefit from food purchased at visiting area vending machines or at the prison commissary.I thank Senator Ramos for sponsoring this important legislation in the Senate and Governor Hochul for signing it into law.Now, the religious rights of incarcerated individuals in our state’s prison system will be properly recognized.”

"It's incredible that this important legislation was signed into law on Chanukah, which celebrates religious liberty, a fundamental right upon which the United States is founded," said Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, President of Tzedek Association. "Thank you Assemblyman Eichenstein and Senator Ramos for remembering the forgotten population, correcting an issue with this bill that frankly should have already been policy."