When an attorney is sentenced to 56 years in prison, there's a good chance that he's going to spend his free(ish) time pretending that he's still a lawyer. That's certainly what former attorney and convicted murderer Perry March has done, starting with a number of appeals that he hoped would overturn his convictions for his wife's disappearance and murder. March is apparently back in the law library in Tennessee's Morgan County Correctional Complex and has filed a 200-page lawsuit alleging that the prison's food is so bad that he's unable to keep kosher.
March is accusing the Tennessee Department of Corrections and Aramark of anti-Semitism, arguing that they are discriminating against him by failing to provide him with meals that jive with his kosher diet. He also says that the food choices are limited and that he has fewer options than non-Jewish or non-kosher inmates. All of this, March alleges, means that both the prison and Aramark are doing their damnedest to make him abandon his religion.
"By way of their well-disguised anti-Semitism, Plaintiff (March) avers that all of the efforts expended by the various defendants in this case are designed to pursue a singular, nefarious Grail—the corporate greed of Aramark, and its lackeys," March wrote, according to The Tennessean.
"As a leader in the Corrections industry for 40 years, serving hundreds of facilities around the country, we are confident that the meals served at Tennessee Department of Correction meet the requirements specified by the state and our high quality standards," Aramark spokesperson Karen Cutler told the paper.
Tennessee is one of 35 state prison systems that will provide kosher meals to inmates—Jewish or not. And although March's claims of anti-Semitism might be an eye-roller, the courts have been on the side of inmates who expect their diets to allow them to adhere to their religious beliefs.
In 2014, the state of Florida found itself on the wrong side of a court order after the Department of Justice ruled that it had to resume serving kosher food to eligible prisoners. In 2007, the state's Department of Corrections had suspended the practice because it believed that non-Jewish prisoners were taking advantage of the kosher meals and because the food cost too much, compared to standard prison fare. (According to the New York Times, at the time, three kosher meals cost $7 a day, while three non-kosher meals were a comparatively slim $1.54).
If March's lawsuit is taken seriously, Tennessee taxpayers might be paying for his new and improved food choices. "There's 10,000 prisoners in [Florida] who have some dietary restrictions because of religion and it cost the state $12 million last year," Legal analyst Nick Leonardo told FOX8.