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London - Prisoners are converting to Judaism to qualify for "better quality" kosher meals after being inspired by a hit Netflix show, a report shows.

Inspectors launched an investigation after almost £1million (about 17 million) was spent on specially-prepared kosher meals for more than 100 inmates at HMP Edinburgh in 2017. But in 2014, there were only nine prisoners registered as Jewish across all Scottish prisons.

The inmates copied a plotline from prison drama Orange is the New Black to demand ‘better quality’ meals on "religious" grounds. Kosher meals are much more costly than standard prison meals.

To counter this, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) brought in stricter rules for those wishing to change dietary requirements in 2017 – and has seen a drop in those wishing to change since.

At HMP Edinburgh, the cost of feeding prisoners fell by £80 000 (about R1.3 million) in the last year, after the numbers applying for kosher meals fell by three quarters.

An SPS spokesman said: ‘If someone requires a kosher diet they will get it but when we tightened up the requirements and made it slightly more bureaucratic, people suddenly decided they weren’t.’

Daily Mail