A prison in Texas has received both praise and criticism for its polarizing decision to serve special meals to Muslim inmates during Ramadan. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez is the officer that approved the decision to serve the halal meals during the month-long fasting holiday, which occurred this year from July 8th to August 7th.
Although the decision took place several months ago, it only recently became criticized by some organizations and individuals throughout the Dallas area. News broke after the sheriff spoke to Pakastani news outlet The News at her birthday celebration, which took place in the home of American Muslim Democratic Caucus co-chair Syed Fayyaz, according to The Blaze.
While critics claim that the meals gave special treatment to prisoners that should otherwise be treated harshly, the prison already offered kosher meals for its Jewish inmates.
Valdez has been a forward-thinking proponent of prison reform, improving medical provisions for inmates and enacting other policies in addition to the Ramadan meals. According to the International News, Valdez claims that “her efforts are to provide a constructive environment to inmates as they become a positive contributor to society when they [get] out of prison.” Valdez’ decision to offer halal meals is simply one of her many attempts to make the Texas prison system a place to truly reform criminals as they prepare for reentry into society.