ICSC Helps Muslim Inmates Receive Halal Meals
Currently, approximately 400 Muslim inmates are housed within the Los Angeles County Jail system. Since the inception of the Muslim Community Affairs (MCA) Unit, it was determined that there was a need for additional services for Muslim inmates. Two of the major deficiencies identified were a lack of Muslim chaplains and an inadequate supply of Qurans available for inmates. The MCA actively solicited the help of the community to fulfill these two needs.
For the past five years, the Muslim Community Affairs (MCA) Unit has worked tirelessly with the LASD Custody Division to ensure inmates receive services that allow them to freely practice their faith. These services include:
• Modification of existing policies allowing inmates the ability to retain their meals in their cells for consumption at a later time to accommodate Ramadan fasting
• Active recruitment of Muslim chaplains
• Ensuring an adequate supply of Qurans are available for inmates
• Ensure religious services are administered at jail facilities
• Provided cultural awareness training to custody staff
Additionally, due to the active efforts of the MCA and Custody Division for the past year, halal meals are now available for Muslim inmates. This was a long process including assessing the needs, establishing policy and protocols, identifying approved vendors, and finalizing a purchase contract.
Although many goals have been accomplished, the LASD still needs the community’s assistance to ensure Muslim inmates continue to receive these services. We are actively looking for qualified community volunteers that are interested in becoming chaplains to provide spiritual guidance for the inmates. Additionally, we are asking for donations of Qurans so we may have them available for distribution to inmates.
The Muslim Community Affairs Unit would like to thank the Islamic Center of Southern California, King Fahad Mosque, and the Council of Pakistan American Affairs for their generous donations of Qurans.
If you would like to volunteer as a chaplain or donate Qurans, please contact the Muslim Community Affairs Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published in a newsletter sent by the LA Sheriff Department’s Muslim Community Affairs Unit. The Muslim Community Affairs unit was established in August 2007 under the direction of Sheriff Baca with the purpose of developing an outreach program for the Muslim Community in Los Angeles County, and to compliment the efforts of the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress which was also created by Sheriff Baca in July 2005.