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Scottish Prison Cracks Down On Inmates Claiming To Be Jewish For Better Food

In 2016 there were nine Jews in Her Majesty’s Prison Edinburgh. The next year, there were 100. Now, there are 23. What is going on?

Scottish prison authorities recently cracked down on inmates claiming to be Jewish in HMP Edinburgh in order to receive kosher — and better — food, The Scotsman reported. The prison is already saving loads of money — excess of £250,000 each year, since a kosher meal costs on average four times as much to produce as a regular meal. (Another outlet said that the crackdown lowered catering costs by £80,000.)

“Ever since one guy converted to Judaism we’ve seen a huge rise in the number claiming to be Jewish as they saw the meals were better,” one source told the Scotsman.

Scottish Prison Service has said that the scam spread to other prisons in the system. It’s possible the inmates were inspired by the Netflix show “Orange Is The New Black,” in which the character Cindy Hayes converts to Judaism in order to get better food.

In the wake of the scam, the SPS said that it has made its process for registering as Jewish more rigorous across its system.

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aefeldman

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