August 01, 2016

Prison Microwaves

The ABA urged the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Aug. 18 to retain microwaves in the inmate unit areas of federal prisons. In a letter to BOP Acting Director Thomas R. Kane, ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman wrote that reports indicate that BOP is no longer maintaining microwaves when they are removed for repair or when replacement is needed. Because of this, inmates are left without a way to heat water for tea, instant coffee or soup and have no ability to heat up food bought at the commissary. In addition, the ABA understands that the cost to BOP for the microwaves is minimal since prisoner trust funds traditionally have been used to pay for and maintain the microwaves. “This issue affects not only Jewish inmates who need these microwaves to heat up kosher food, but also inmates of all faiths who use the microwaves for special dietary needs,” Susman wrote. Support for maintenance of microwaves is included in the ABA Criminal Justice Standards on the Treatment of Prisoners, which includes standards for providing prisoners with adequate nutrition with appropriate accommodations and with food consistent with their religious beliefs.