Tag Archives: religion

Guantánamo prison to synchronize force-feedings to Ramadan fast

From the article: “The U.S. prison at Guantánamo has sufficient military medical staff to synchronize forced-feedings to the Ramadan fast and will only feed hunger strikers after sunset and before dawn, a prison spokesman said Tuesday.”

Read more here.
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IN: John Walker Lindh Wins Prison Prayer Lawsuit

This is interesting – most prison RLUIPA case judgments are weighted heavily on the side of prison officials and it’s pretty easy to see how allowing daily group prayer for inmates at this high security prison could present a concern.  However, the judge found that the restriction on daily prayer was unconstitutional, barring specific evidence that it would in fact present a security concern.

Read more here.

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Judge: SD prison tobacco ban substantially burdens Native American inmates’ religious rights

From the article: “A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the South Dakota prison system’s ban on tobacco in religious ceremonies substantially burdens Native American inmates’ religious rights.”

Read more here.

In Ohio, the prison system has a system-wide ban on tobacco products, which also applies to religious tobacco.  My understanding is that they have found a non-tobacco alternative for the ceremonial herbs that Native Americans smoke as part of their religious practice.

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Settlement will allow Va. inmates to grow beards

Another religious discrimination case regarding hair length.  According to this article, the Virginia Department of Corrections has settled with a Sunni Muslim inmate who stated that his religious beliefs require him to grow his beard.  The new policy “states that the beard must cover the entire facial hair area and contain no shapes or designs, so no goatees will be allowed. The barbershop will be equipped with a ¼-inch beard trimmer to be used instead of rulers to determine compliance.”

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Prison chaplain: Group prayer banned because of security

Update on the Lindh litigation against the federal government for infringement of his freedom of religious exercise because the prison will not allow group prayer for Muslim inmates.  The prison chaplain says that group prayer for the high security inmates is a legitimate security concern; Lindh argues that the prison allows other types of group activities, so why not religion?  When you read RLUIPA cases, prison officials allege almost everything impacts security or cost and the courts usually defer to them.  And maybe that’s right….or maybe not.

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John Walker Lindh Sues For Prison Prayer Group

Another article on John Walker Lindh and his suit against the federal government regarding infringement of his personal right to practice his religion while incarcerated.  Inmates sometimes claim religion as an excuse to gather in groups and to proselytize their ideology, which may have more to do with racism and gang activity than religion.  On the other hand, our country is built on principles of religious freedom.  It is a tough line to draw.

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‘American Taliban’ Lindh seeks group prayer in Indiana prison

“An American-born Taliban fighter imprisoned in Indiana will try to convince a federal judge that his religious freedom trumps security concerns in a closely watched trial that will examine how far prisons can go to ensure security in the age of terrorism.”

Read more here.
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Chaplain reviews inmate re-entry program

“Out of more than 180 inmates who’ve graduated from the Life Connections Program at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, only about 10 returned to prison after being released.

That’s according to Kendall Hughes, a chaplain at the USP.”

Read more: http://www.leavenworthtimes.com/news/x1733878961/Chaplain-reviews-inmate-re-entry-program

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Florida corrections department sued for not offering kosher meals

“The federal government has sued Florida’s Department of Corrections for not offering kosher meals to all prison inmates.

In its lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Miami, federal officials say that by refusing to offer the strict religious diet in line with Jewish beliefs, the state “forces hundreds of its prisoners to violate their core religious beliefs on a daily basis.”

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Missouri’s ‘Right to Pray’ amendment is challenged by ACLU

“The ACLU of Eastern Missouri filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday challenging an amendment to the state’s constitution it contends violates the religious rights of prison inmates.”

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