Religion

See the Department of Correction’s policy on Religious Programs and Services, 103 CMR 471, here and read the DOC’s Religious Services Handbook here.

Religious Diets

Prisoners’ Legal Services is not able to assist you in this matter. The following is information to help you obtain a religious diet on your own.

How to Request a Religious Diet

If you have a sincere religious belief that requires you to have a special diet you should write to the chaplain of the prison (or to the superintendent if there is no chaplain) requesting that diet per 103 CMR 471.09(5). (“Inmates whose religion places restrictions on diets will be permitted access to a special diet”). We suggest sending a copy to the superintendent even if you send your request to the chaplain. You should be able to obtain the regulation from the law library.

Your letter should state the basis for your request. If you are a member of a specific religion, describe the specific religious commandment requiring that you adhere to your dietary request. If you are making the request based on a purely personal religious belief (equally valid under the law as a commandment of a recognized specific religion), you should state that you have a sincere, religious belief which requires that you adhere to the diet that you are requesting.

If Your Diet Request is Denied

In the event that your diet request is denied or you do not receive a response to your request, you should file a formal grievance requesting the special diet. This serves two purposes. The first is to try to resolve the issue by getting the diet through that process, and the second is to preserve your right to file suit about the denial if you decide to do that.