What happens to Jews in prison?

I’m under the impression that prisons often have neo-Nazi gangs and that white prisoners join them not out of actual racism, but simply to be protected from the black gangs. I have no idea how racist these Nazi prison gangs actually are, if there thing is just for show and about intimidation and power, or if they actually believe passionately in Nazi racist ideology. Since I have often read about Nazi gangs being connected with Hispanic gangs, I suspect the former.

This article actually says:

When Jewish criminals are put in prison, do they typically become targets of the Nazi gangs, or are they usually accepted if they choose to join? If someone named Cohen or Goldberg goes to prison, he can’t just hide his Jewish identity. Does anyone who has worked in a prison (or who has been to prison) have any more specific details on this?

Paging Dr Qadgop the Mercotan!

Interesting question!

Coincidentally, I have read about a few Jewish prisoners in the federal and state systems in the past few days. They were all in minimum security prisons for white collar crimes where such things wouldn’t exist much. I am not trying to be flip. Jews make up about 2% of the U.S. population and they aren’t known culturally for maximum security scumbag type crimes although the laws of large numbers still dictates that there are many spread across the various maximum security prison systems in the U.S.

I don’t know how you can isolate this question enough without getting hopelessly anecdotal because the specific circumstances would have to be very rare. Like always, I have a story of my own. I was in an (unnamed) support group 5 years ago with a true psycho that had just gotten out of the Massachusetts maximum security system for all types of crimes and he was a skinhead. He took a special hatred towards me right away and he seemed to have absolutely no redeeming qualities aside from loving his five year old son a great deal. He mentioned a few times that the mother of his son was Jewish and she had custody of the child. I happened to walk upon an informal smoke break with him and a few fellow scumbags in which he was literally showing various Arian nation and other white supremacy cards and literature. He hated Jews and blacks and everyone else. One look told you this was not the brightest or most rational little bulb.

I wasn’t trying to be inflammatory but I blurted out that his son was technically Jewish because his mother was. Uh-oh. That is ninja lesson #1 on how to drive a white supremacist instantly insane. Attempted violence instantly erupted but the man in question was addicted to opiates because of a bad back and hurt himself even worse in a classic gimp move. Authorities were called and the consequences were harsh against him (none against me).

Some of this may seem like irrelevant rambling but I assure you that it is not. People in maximum security prisons don’t usually have doctorates in philosophy. They just make things up to suit their needs. There are lots of categories of people that wouldn’t fit into a dichotomous system like you describe but people find a way to make things fit in their minds just like we all do in human group interractions.

A friend of mine spent a couple of years in a max security prison in California. My friend is Hispanic so he was in with the largest group. I asked him about Jews and he told me that they were protected by the “Aryans.” The reason was that Whites were the third biggest group after Hispanics and Blacks and they overlooked the fact that someone was Jewish because they needed anyone they could get to keep their numbers up.

My cousin is from the East Coast. A friend of his was a Jewish guy who was in prison in New York or New Jersey. He was told that out there the Jews align with the Italians/Mafia.

Reminds me of a Louis Theroux documentary made in San Quentin prison. An ex-member from a neo-nazi gang had not only decided to run the risk of leaving the gang but had taken a boyfriend who was jewish :dubious:

Nazis and Jews aren’t really present in large enough groups to be a factor in NY prison gang problems. They’re pretty much there as individuals rather than part of a broader group. Their main goal is generally going to be to lay low and avoid being a target for the bigger gangs like the Bloods or Latin Kings.

The main factor that comes to mind concerning Jewish prisoners is food. Many non-Jewish prisoners “convert” to Judaism in prison in order to qualify for kosher meals. We prepare most of the meals within the prison system but the kosher meals are bought pre-made from outside venders and are generally considered to be better.

Ahh… the old Lansky-Luciano alliance.

My cousin was recently released from a medium-security prison in California for drug-related crimes. He was basically left alone, but my understanding is that he was in a drug-rehab program that was itself segregated. I don’t think he was involved that much in the general population, so he may not have had the opportunity to spend much time outside the people in his program.


Interesting - how do you solve that problem? I know RLUIPA - the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act - generally requires prisons that receive federal funds to accommodate the exercise of religious beliefs, absent a compelling interest (like safety) that can only be protected by denying that accommodation. So, how do you make sure you don’t run into RLUIPA problems when you think someone is faking a religious conversion in order to score delicious kosher meals?

Ummm…ignore it? I’ve usually got enough larger and more immediate problems to deal with that the issue of prisoners faking religious conversions in order to get a better meal doesn’t get addressed. If it becomes a problem, we might decide to question the validity of his conversion but as a practical matter it usually isn’t a problem and we let it go. So if somebody wants to say he’s Jewish, he’s going to get away with it.

Interesting. Are Muslim prisoners provided with halal meals? I have heard some prisoners convert to Islam behind bars, and perhaps this is another perk.

In the Wisconsin system, the chaplain’s office decides on requests for halal, kosher, and vegan meals.

But if an inmate is granted a request for such a meal, he must stick with it. If he’s discovered eating food outside of his ‘religious’ dietary restrictions, he’ll be placed back on the standard diet.

Medical diets are available, but there’s no medical indication for a purely vegan, halal, or kosher meal so I don’t have to deal with these issues, fortunately.

Yes, but halal meals are not bought by outside vendors so they’re not significantly different than the regular meals and don’t draw the same amount of converts.

The Muslim meals during Ramadan are popular and for obvious reasons are served seperately from regular meals. We do make sure that nobody is double dipping during Ramadan and going to regular meals and then coming back for a Ramadan meal.

Jewish Inmate Seeks Segregation from Anti-Semitic Gangs

Jews In Prison

What’s next, Jews in prison movies?

You can bet that right at this very moment some eager hotshot is pitching that exact concept somewhere in Hollywood.

But I thought what set Ramadan apart wasn’t that the food eaten then was particularly different or better, but that a good Muslim fasts during daylight hours during Ramadan, which lasts an entire (lunar) month. From sunrise to sunset, nothing passes your lips, not even water. A pre-dawn meal is eaten, as is a meal after sundown, which obviously will be something rather large, I guess…? But is it worth fasting 10-14 hours a day?

Some years ago I knew a bloke of W.Indian descent here in the UK who attempted to join The National Front,an extreme right wing political party that was all about Britain for the British(Ie. in their eyes White)and was livid when he wasn’t allowed to join.

He wasn’t trying make a political statement he just wanted to go around beating up people from the Indian sub Continent who he hated with genuine fervour.

As you may have guessed not the sharpest knife in the draw.

The after dawn meal isn’t just a larger meal. It would rather be the equivalent of a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal (with family gathering, special dishes and desserts, etc…) every night, as long as the fast last. Might be worth waiting for a dozen hours.
Of course, not everybody indulge that much but many do (I’m not talking about people in jail, here, of course).

They’re big meals to make up for the meals that were missed during the day. We have no problem with a prisoner making the choice between eating two big meals at night as opposed to eating three regular meals during the day. As I said, our concern is to make sure that nobody is eating five meals around the clock.