The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Scandal of jail’s ‘kosher’ convicts whose diet costs YOU £5k a week
...That’s all 100 of them, led by this supposedly ‘Jewish’ inmate, a cross-dressing thug who says: Call me Tiffany
INMATES at a Scots jail are staging a bizarre food protest that is costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds a week.
Around 100 inmates at HMP Glenochil, near Tullibody in Clackmannanshire, are falsely claiming to be Jewish in order to receive more expensive kosher food.
The prisoners do not have to show any meaningful commitment to Judaism to qualify for the special diet, which they believe is tastier than standard prison food. They simply have to say they are Jewish.
Demand is now so high the prison governor is said to be considering hiring a specialist kosher chef.
But prison warders last night said the move was simply a ‘two-finger salute’ by the prisoners.
The leader of the apparent mass conversion is Andrew Burns, a 25year-old cross-dressing serial thug from Kinglassie in Fife who demands guards call him Tiffany.
According to an insider, murderer Gavin Boyd is also among those demanding kosher meals. The sex attacker was on an electronic tag when he suffocated 20-year-old Vikki McGrand in Ayr in 2008.
He told police she had refused to hand over images that showed him wearing a red PVC skirt, suspenders, boots and a silver tiara.
Others include registered sex offender Thomas Smith, who tortured, raped and battered Diane Fallon, 43, and her ten-year-old daughter Holly, who had lived next door to him in Cronberry, Ayrshire.
Paedophile Maurice Crossley, who abused children after befriending single mothers, is demanding to be fed a Rastafarian diet.
Standard meals are cooked in the prison kitchens, but kosher food has to be prepared according to strict rules off-site then delivered to the jail – meaning the cost of feeding those claiming to be Jewish has added an extra £5,300 to the weekly catering bill.
An insider said: ‘There’s no doubt the kosher diet is an upgrade on the usual prison food. There’s less stodge and more fresh fruit and vegetables, plus you get full-fat milk instead of semi-skimmed.
‘But we’re not talking gourmets – or even genuine Jews – here. These are hardened criminals and low-life sex offenders.
‘This is a co-ordinated campaign to waste money simply because it’s their way of kicking back at the authorities while they’ve got nothing better to do.
‘Burns knows the rules and regulations inside out and he spends his time searching out loopholes. Others see him getting his own way and they follow on behind.
‘So now there’s consideration being given to hiring a kosher chef to keep a lid on the costs and staff are researching what Rastafarians eat. It’s ludicrous.’
The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is obliged to provide prisoners with food in line with their stated religious beliefs – but is not allowed to question the authenticity of those beliefs.
Kosher means ‘suitable’ or ‘pure’ in Hebrew. Rules for meat include painless killing by a ritual slaughterer and it must be served separately to dairy products.
Although kosher food does not have to be blessed by a rabbi, certification often involves having a specialist factory or kitchen inspected by a religious authority.
The kosher meals in Glenochil cost £10 per person a day compared with £2.47 for traditional food.
Andy Hogg, assistant general secretary of the Prison Officers Association in Scotland, said: ‘The conduct of the prisoners concerned is no more than a two-finger salute to authority because they believe they can get away with it.
‘Scottish society will be outraged at the perverse use of the Human Rights Act as a means of supporting anti-establishment sentiment when it is designed to afford proper protection of genuine rights and freedoms.’
Scottish Tory justice spokesman Douglas Ross said: ‘There’s nothing wrong with offering prisoners kosher food if that is in keeping with their faith. But it’s clear this is an orchestrated campaign which abuses that right.
‘It’s wasting taxpayers’ money and insults those who genuinely do require kosher meals. If evidence of this being a ruse is obtained, those guilty should be dealt with severely.’
An SPS spokesman said: ‘Our policies are very clear and have been for many years. We respect the right of individuals to have their religious dietary needs catered for.’
HMP Glenochil holds an average population of 660 criminals.
‘A two-finger salute to authority’