About 5 a.m. Friday, Muslim inmates at Syracuse’s Onondaga County Justice
Center awoke to the news that Ramadan had begun.

About 20 men and women began the holy month of Ramadan with an early meal –
two hours before the rest of the more than 600 inmates. It would be their
only food or drink until sunset. For the next month, dinner will also be
served earlier for Muslim inmates who request it. They will be allowed to
pray individually during the day and as a group several nights a week.

During Ramadan, officials at the Justice Center adjust policies so that
observant Muslims can participate in prayers and traditions central to
their faith. Similar changes are made for Muslim prisoners at the Onondaga
County Correctional Facility in Jamesville.

“You give up some rights when you’re incarcerated, but we want to give
every religious accommodation we can,” said Sgt. Joseph A. Powlina, who
works in the Justice Center’s 01


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