Steven Hayes, who was convicted of raping and murdering three people (including two children) in Cheshire, Connecticut, and sentenced to death, is now suing the Connecticut Department of Correction for failing to provide him Kosher meals while in prison. Hayes was not Jewish when he entered prison, but is now calling himself an Orthodox Jew after he "signed up for Judaism."
In his handwritten lawsuit, filed in federal court, Hayes complains that he has lost weight and is starving because the food he is served in prison is not kosher.
The defendants "have been denying a kosher diet I have been requesting since approximately May of 2013," he writes in his lawsuit. "As an orthodox practicing Jew I am entitled to a kosher diet that follows the Jewish dietary laws of kashrut." Kashrut specifies what food Jews can eat and how it must be prepared.
The career criminal further complains that the kitchen at Northern Correctional Institution does not have an "orthodox kosher certificate or a Jewish overseer to maintain strict kosher storage, prep and cooking standards."
All meals at Northern, Hayes claims, are prepared using the same pots, pans, utensils, prep surfaces, washing and storage areas and cooking appliances. He further complains that kitchen staff has told him that "common fare" served at Northern is "kosher like."
"Kosher-like is not kosher," Hayes declared in the lawsuit.
Hayes continues in his lawsuit that "in January 2013 I signed up for Judaism after I learned that Rabbi Schectman was in fact coming to [Northern Correctional Institution] to perform services. Prior to this I was following the philosophy of Taoism since I was told no rabbi came to Northern. I had last practiced Judaism with Rabbi Schectman at Somers Correctional Institution in the mid to late 90s."
Jewish Prisoner Services International dispute Hayes' claim that he is Jewish, as one cannot simply declare oneself to be an Orthodox Jew.
Conversion to Judaism requires a lengthy and serious period of study, according to the organization's website, as well as involvement in the Jewish community that culminates in approval by a rabbinic court and certain religious rituals. It is also rare for a rabbinic court to approve the conversion of somebody who is incarcerated, according to the organization's website.
Hayes' lawyer also claimed that his client is in an "oppressive situation" because he is in a jail cell 24 hours a day. This is also not the first time Hayes has attempted to sue the state over prison conditions.
Cry me a freaking river. I'm sorry, but I cannot come to grips with his lawyer's claim that Hayes is in an "oppressive situation" due to his imprisonment. The three people who he killed are also in what you could call an "oppressive situation" of being dead in a coffin 24 hours a day for the rest of eternity. He killed two young girls who had the rest of their lives in front of them. This attention-seeking, drama queen-esque behavior is absolutely despicable. He's wasting the state's time and money. This is absurd.