AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
Law Journal Article: Religious Freedom in
Correctional Facilities (I) --Legal Standard 2007 (3) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Religious Freedom in Correctional Facilities (II) --Appearance and Apparel 2007 (4) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Prisoner Diet Legal Issues, 2007 (7) AELE Mo. L.J. 301. [Contains a section of religious issues arising in the context of prisoner diet].
Monthly Law Journal Article: Religious Freedom in Correctional Facilities (III): Protection for "Unconventional" Religions?, 2009 (3) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Atheist, Agnostic or “Secular Humanist” Prisoners, And the “Establishment of Religion”, 2009 (5) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Prisoner Name Changes, 2011 (6) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Rights of Rastafarian Employees and Inmates, 2015 (8) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.
Jewish prisoners in Indiana were transferred from one facility to another in order to keep supplying them with a kosher diet. The prisoners claimed that the department of corrections Director of Religious and Volunteer Services violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by failing to delay that transfer until the new facility also offered opportunities for Jewish group worship and study. At the time of the transfer, the department was unable to recruit Jewish volunteers to the second facility to lead worship or train inmate leaders. A federal appeals court upheld summary judgment for the defendant, ruling that he did not violate clearly established law. The plaintiffs cited no case holding that the Free Exercise Clause provides prisoners the right to group worship when outside volunteers were unavailable to lead or train inmates or holding that a prison official violates the Free Exercise Clause by transferring inmates to a facility that does not provide congregate worship and study, or by failing to delay a transfer until the new facility provides congregate worship and study. Kemp v. Liebel, #17-1314, 877 F.3d 346 (7th Cir. 2017).
A Rastafarian prisoner sued as a pauper, challenging the discontinuation of Rastafarian worship services in his prison. He appealed the dismissal of his lawsuit for failure to state a claim and failure to exhaust administrative remedies. A federal appeals court held that failure to exhaust plaintiff's administrative remedies was not a proper basis for dismissal, since a failure to exhaust was not apparent on the face of the complaint. Further, the complaint sufficiently alleged that the defendants’ refusal to allow the group Rastafarian service substantially burdened his religious practices. The dismissal of claims against the prison chaplain was upheld, however, as the plaintiff failed to allege his involvement in the manner necessary to impose liability. Wilcox v. Brown, #16-7596, 877 F.3d 161 (4th Cir. 2017).
A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of a prisoner’s religious freedom claims as frivolous and for failure to state a claim. His claims for declaratory and injunctive relief under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), was moot after his transfer to a different detention center. His First Amendment claim failed because, other than not being allowed to attend Jumu'ah prayer services, he has not identified any other restrictions on his ability to express or exercise his Muslim faith; Coleman v. Lincoln Parish Detention Center, #16-30109, 858 F.3d 307 (5th Cir. 2013).
The federal government imposed Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) on a prisoner limiting his communications with the outside world due to past terrorist activities and his connections with terrorist groups. One of the restrictions included a prohibition against participating in group prayer. The plaintiff challenged the legality of his numerous restrictions. He requested a declaratory judgment proclaiming that the government’s imposition and enforcement of the restrictions violated numerous constitutional provisions as well as the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. He also sought an injunction ordering the government to permit his participation in group prayer. The trial court dismissed his suit for failure to state a claim. While his case was on appeal, the government allowed plaintiff's SAMs to expire. But he was still prohibited from participating in group prayer due to the housing restrictions at the facility. A federal appeals court found that the government did not meet its burden to affirmatively demonstrate that continuing to deny plaintiff the right to freely exercise his religion once a week furthered a compelling governmental interest in the least restrictive manner. Ghailani v. Sessions, #15-1128, 2017 U.S. App. Lexis 10952 (10th Cir.).
A state trial court ruled that the prohibition on the use of straight tobacco during prisoners’ Native American religious ceremonies violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) and it ordered the California Department of Corrections to "formulate and implement policies permitting and reasonably regulating the possession and use of straight tobacco" during those ceremonies. An intermediate California appeals court found that the order was improperly granted without holding an evidentiary hearing and reversed, ordering that such a hearing be conducted. The hearing will consider the disputed factual issue of whether the prisoner’s religious exercise is substantially burdened by the policy. If the prisoner meets his burden of proof on that issue, the court will then consider the factual issue of whether the policy against the use of straight tobacco constitutes the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest. In re Rhoades, #D070488, 10 Cal. App. 5th 896 (2017).
A prisoner argued that Georgia prisons
enforced a grooming policy that violated his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
(RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq., by substantially burdening his exercise of
a sincerely held religious belief that Islam requires him to grow an uncut
beard. Overturning summary judgment for the defendants, a federal appeals court
ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Holt
v. Hobbs, #13-6827, 574 U.S. ——, 135 S. Ct. 853, 190 L. Ed. 2d 747 (2015) (holding
that the Arkansas Department of Corrections grooming policy violated the
RLUIPA insofar as it prevented a prisoner from growing a ½-inch beard in
accordance with his religious beliefs), made the trial court’s analysis
inadequate because it failed to analyze the substantial burden placed on the
prisoner’s religious beliefs, whether correctional authorities had a compelling
interest, or whether the least restrictive means of furthering that interest
was utilized. The plaintiff
argued that by allowing medical but not religious exemptions from the grooming
policy, the defendants showed that they were not utilizing the least
restrictive means of furthering their interests in security and hygiene. Smith
v. Owens, #14-10981, (11th Cir.).
An Illinois prisoner filed a complaint in the Illinois Court of Claims against the Illinois Department of Corrections asserting that Muslims in state prisons were not permitted to attend prayer service each Friday, that prison officials regularly stole Arabic prayer cassette tapes and Muslim prayer rugs, and that Christians were permitted to have more volunteers enter the facility than are Muslims. He sought $5,000 in damages and the court, while holding a hearing, failed to issue an opinion for two years. The prisoner meanwhile filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against prison officials in their individual capacity, only seeking injunctive relief. The Court of Claims subsequently rejected all of the prisoner’s claims in a brief two page order. While the federal trial court dismissed the federal lawsuit as barred by res judicata, a federal appeals court reversed, finding that the Illinois Court of Claims had lacked jurisdiction to resolve federal constitutional claims. McDonald v. Adamson, #15-1305, 840 F.3d 343 (7th Cir. 2016).
A Christian pretrial detainee alleged that he made a religious vow to abstain from eating meat, animal fats, or gelatin. He also refuses to eat any part of a meal that contains those items or to trade those items for acceptable food. He sued a deputy sheriff in his official capacity for refusing to agree to supply him with vegetarian meals. A federal appeals court found that the sovereign immunity of the state of Georgia from damages under the Eleventh Amendment extended to the deputy's denial of his dietary request. The county sheriff derived his powers from the state under Georgia law and was largely independent of the county, and the providing of food to county jail inmates was a state function under a Georgia statute. The deputy's functions were derived from the sheriff, so his performance as also a state function. Lake v. Skelton, #15-13124, 840 F.3d 1334 (11th Cir. 2016).
A Muslim inmate at a federal correctional facility claimed that he was terminated from his paid work assignment because he complained that two correctional officers were subjecting him to anti-Muslim harassment at work. He further claimed that this harassment had caused him to refrain from praying at work. He asserted claims under the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment's equal protection guarantee, and the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA). Reversing dismissal of the plaintiff's First Amendment retaliation and RFRA claims, a federal appeals court ruled that a prisoner's oral grievance to prison officials can constitute protected activity under the Constitution, that the RFRA prohibits individual conduct that substantially burdens religious exercise, and that the RFRA provides for monetary relief from an official sued in his individual capacity. The appeals court affirmed dismissal of the First Amendment Free Exercise and Fifth Amendment equal protection claims. Mack v. Warden, Loretto Fed. Corr. Inst., #14-2738, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 18336 (3rd Cir.).
A Wiccan prisoner on his own behalf and on behalf of thirty fellow Wiccan inmates sued, demanding that the prison recognize Wicca as a bona fide religion and give its followers the same rights as inmates of other faiths. In 1997, a comprehensive settlement agreement was entered into, followed by a second settlement agreement approved by the court in 2011 as a consent decree and according the inmates additional privileges. On appeal the issue was whether the trial court properly decided to terminate the consent decree on the basis of full compliance. The appeals court found that the trial court committed numerous errors in terminating a consent decree that had been carefully crafted over the course of two decades; applied the wrong legal standard, and found substantial compliance without giving due attention to the various exacting obligations embodied in the decree, and without considering whether the purpose of the decree had been served. Further, the trial court improperly refused to hold an evidentiary hearing to resolve material factual disputes about whether defendants had complied with the decree, The appeals court also held that under no circumstances should the trial court consider terminating a decree unless and until there has been a substantial period of substantial compliance - in this case no less than a year - with every one of its terms. The consent decree was reinstated. Rouser v. White, #13-56152, 825 F.3d 1076 (9th Cir. 2016).
A Wiccan prisoner was denied a request to wear a “pentacle medallion,” a five-pointed silver star set in a circle less than an inch in diameter. The pentacle medallion was claimed to be to the Wiccan religion what the cross is to many Christians. The medallion, he contended, was small enough to comply with the facility's jewelry regulation, yet it was confiscated. The warden contended that inmates were prohibited from possessing five or six point star symbols because they are used as gang identifiers. A federal appeals court ruled that the trial court erred in denying a preliminary injunction on religious freedom claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc–1. The court ruled that the statute's “substantial burden” inquiry asks whether the government has substantially burdened religious exercise, not whether the plaintiff is able to engage in other forms of religious exercise. The court noted that the plaintiff was willing to wear his medallion under his shirt whenever he was outside his cell to protect himself from being identified as a gang member and that he had tendered an affidavit from another Wiccan prisoner, who stated that he has worn his medallion in maximum security prisons since 1998 without experiencing threats or violence. Knowles v. Pfister, #15-1703, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 12853 (7th Cir.).
Native American prisoners challenged under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. prison policies restricting the wearing of medicine bags, the use of pipes during Native American religious ceremonies, and certain grooming requirements. A federal appeals court upheld summary judgment for the plaintiffs on their medicine bag and pipe ceremony claims, and ordered further proceedings on their grooming policy claim as there remained material issues in dispute as to the legitimacy of officials' cost and security concerns created by the wearing of kouplocks by the plaintiffs, who were low security risk prisoners. Davis v. Davis, #14-40339, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 10788 (5th Cir.).
A Native American inmate claimed to have contracted Hepatitis C while participating in a communal pipe-smoking ceremony at a prison. He sued the Executive Director of the state prison agency for violating his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by failing to protect him from the risk of contracting communicable diseases, including Hepatitis C. A federal appeals court noted that there was no policy requiring the plaintiff to participate in the communal pipe ceremony, and he did so voluntarily based on his religious beliefs. He therefore failed to state a claim for an Eighth Amendment violation. Legate v. Livingston, #15-40079, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 9106 (5th Cir.).
A Nebraska prisoner claimed that prison officials violated his religious freedom rights by refusing to accommodate his religion of "Pastafarianism," as a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The judge held that it was not a genuine religion, although it played an important role as "a parody, intended to advance an argument about science, the evolution of life, and the place of religion in public education." Cavanaugh v. Bartelt, #4:14-cv-3183, 2016 U.S. Dist. Lexis 48746 (D. Neb.).
A Muslim prisoner claimed that his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. were violated by the prison's grooming regulations denying permission to grow a "fist-length" beard not to exceed four inches and to wear a religious kufi. The trial court upheld thesec claims, granting declaratory and injunctive relief. Upholding this result, a federal appeals court agreed that the prison officials had not met their burden in failing to demonstrate that the prohibitions in question were the least restrictive means of furthering compelling interests in preventing contraband, providing inmate identification, orderly program administration, and cost control. Ali v. Stephens, #14-41165, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 7964 (5th Cir.).
A prisoner in administrative segregation claimed that a limit of two personal books imposed by the prison violated his sincerely-held religious beliefs in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 ("RLUIPA"). He was later moved out of segregation and allowed 15 personal books. The trial judge declined to dismiss the case as moot, finding that the prisoner would likely be returned to segregation in the future, and ruling that the two-book policy violated the RLUIPA, enjoining future enforcement of the policy. A federal appeals court reversed, finding that the plaintiff's transfer from segregation to the general population did moot the case, depriving the court of jurisdiction. It rejected an argument that a "capable of repetition, yet evading review" exception to the mootness doctrine applied, since it declined to assume that the prisoner would repeat the misconduct that previously resulted in his segregation. Ind v. Colorado Dept. of Corrections, #14-1168, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 16223 (10th Cir.).
A prisoner raised a sufficient claim that his free exercise rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act were violated by the prohibition on him consuming wine during communion, the requirement that he work on the Sabbath, and assigning him non-Christian cellmates. Summary judgment dismissing the lawsuit was reversed. The total ban on consumption of wine during communion imposed a substantial burden on a religious exercise and the legitimate safety and health concerns involved in the ban did not preclude the possibility of a reasonable accommodation with minimal impact or the availability of reasonable alternatives. The prisoner's need to not work on the Sabbath could be accommodated by performing work hours entirely during the week, and the plaintiff sufficiently alleged religiously motivated harassment by assigning him a cellmate who chilled his exercise of religion, which could be accommodated by assigning a compatible cellmate. Jehovah v. Clarke, #13-7529, 792 F.3d 457 (4th Cir. 2015).
Alabama correctional officials were properly granted a judgment in their favor on Native American inmates' claims that the failure to allow their hair unshorn as required by their religion violated their rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. The defendants presented ample evidence that their policy was necessary to accomplish a number of compelling goals, which included the prevention of concealment of contraband, facilitation of inmate identification, maintenance of good hygiene and health, and facilitation of prison discipline through uniformity. It was also proven that the hair-length policy was the least restrictive means of furthering these compelling governmental interests. Knight v. Thompson, #12-11926, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 13668 (11th Cir.)
An inmate claimed that his free exercise of religion rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. were violated because he was prohibited from consuming wine during communion, he was required to work on the Sabbath, and he was housed with non-Christian and anti-Christian cellmates, including an active Satanist. He further asserted a claim for deliberate indifference to his medical needs. A federal appeals court found that the plaintiff successfully alleged facts sufficient to go forward on his Sabbath and cell assignment claims, and the fact that he received some medical treatment for some of his various symptoms did not defeat his deliberate indifference claim when he alleged that some symptoms were not treated at all. The appeals court reversed the summary dismissal of the wine communion claim, as the plaintiff did not have the opportunity to submit a brief on whether the wine ban substantially burdened the exercise of his religion and the record did not show that the total ban on wine consumption during communion was the least restrictive means of furthering the prison's asserted security interest. Jehovah v. Clarke, #13-7529, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 11818 (4th Cir.).
A California prison's refusal to accommodate an Aryan Christian Odinist prisoner's request that he be classified an ineligible to be housed with a cellmate of a different race did not violate his religious free exercise rights under either the First Amendment or the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. Denying a religious exemption to the prison's classification scheme was the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling interest in complying with constitutional restrictions on racial segregation. Walker v. Beard, #12-17460, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 10255 (9th Cir.).
A prisoner who is a member of the Nation of Gods and Earths (NOGE), a group whose adherents are also known as "Five Percenters" participated in a prison riot with other members of the group in 1995, and was placed in solitary confinement as a result, where he remained for 20 years. He claimed that his confinement in solitary for this long violated his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. He claimed that the state correctional policy required him to renounce his affiliation with his religion before it would release him, and that his procedural due process rights were also violated. The plaintiff could not prevail on his religious exercise claim, even if his religion was entitled to protection, as he failed to show that the department's policy actually did require him to renounce his faith before being released from the special management unit. But the 20-year period of solitary confinement was held to amount to an "atypical and significant hardship in relation to the general population," and implicated a liberty interest in avoiding security detention. There was a triable dispute of fact as to whether the process used for determining which prisoners were fit for release from security detention met the minimum due process requirements. Incumaa v. Stirling, #14-6411, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 11321 (4th Cir.).
Prison officials were improperly granted summary judgment on religious accommodation claims asserted by a Native American prisoner belonging to the Navajo tribe under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc et seq. The plaintiff prisoner asserted a possibly viable claim that the inability to eat game meat at a Navajo celebration imposed a substantial burden on his religious belief, and there was no evidence presented by the defendants that USDA inspected game meats were either not available or what the cost would be to accommodate the inmate's request. Prison officials were also improperly granted summary judgment on the prisoner's claim related to the denial of his request for a multi-colored headband. Schlemm v. Wall, #14-2604, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 6592 (7th Cir.).
The federal government filed a lawsuit against Florida correctional officials, alleging that a failure to provide kosher meals to all prisoners with a sincere religious belief in keeping kosher was a substantial burden on those prisoners' religious freedom rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. After the trial court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss, the state issued a new policy on religious diets, spelling out the criteria for qualifying for kosher meals. The court then issued an injunction requiring the providing of the kosher meals program and prevented the state from enforcing the eligibility requirements. The injunctive order, however, did not mention the need-narrowness-intrusiveness criteria for preliminary injunctions mandated by the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Subsequently, the court did not finalize the injunctive order within 90 days, as a result of which the preliminary injunction expired by operation of law in early March of 2014. This rendered the state's appeal from the order moot, and an exception to mootness for orders capable of repetition, yet evading review, did not apply because the state of Florida had not shown a probability that future such injunctive orders on the subject would evade review. United States v. Sec'y, Florida Dept. of Corrections, #14-10086, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 3148 (11th Cir.).
The U.S. Supreme Court held that a correctional policy that prohibited prisoners from growing beards (with an exception for inmates with a diagnosed skin condition allowed to grow 1/4 inch beards) violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000cc-1(a), when used to deny a sincerely devout Muslim prisoner the right to grow a 1/2-inch beard as required by his religious beliefs. The rights granted by the statute are not limited to beliefs shared by all practitioners of a religion. The defendants failed to show that enforcing the policy in this manner served the stated compelling interests in safety, keeping out contraband, and preventing inmates from quickly changing their appearance. It would be difficult to hide contraband by such a short beard, and hair on the head was allowed to be that length. It was not shown that security concerns could not be satisfied by searching such beards. Requiring prisoners to be photographed both with and without beards would be a less restrictive means of preventing them from being able to quickly change appearance, such as during an escape. The opinion noted that many other institutions allowed facial fair.Holt v. Hobbs, #13-6827, 2015 U.S. Lexis 626.
A federal appeals court ruled that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment to prison employees on a federal prisoner's claims for injunctive relief under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb. The prisoner, a priest of the Santeria religion, claimed that the defendants violated his rights by refusing to allow him to receive Santeria beads and shells for religious purposes. The appeals court found that the prison had offered "no evidence" at all to justify its cost and safety concerns, and ruled that the defendants' "generalized" statement of interests, when unsupported by specific and reliable evidence, was not sufficient to show that the restriction in question furthered a compelling governmental interest. Summary judgment to the defendants on First Amendment claims and dismissal of money damages claims under the RFRA were both upheld. Davila v. Gladden, #13-10739, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 345 (11th Cir.).
A federal prisoner and the American Humanist Association sued the federal government, seeking a judicial determination that secular humanism, defined as “an ethical and life-affirming philosophy free of belief in any gods and other supernatural forces," should be recognized as a religion so that a prison would allow the creation of a humanist study group. A federal trial judge accepted the argument, finding that denying secular humanists equal rights with other theistic religions could violate the Establishment of Religion Clause of the First Amendment. “The court finds that Secular Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes,” American Humanist Association v. United States, #3:14-cv-00565, 2014 U.S. Dist. Lexis 154670 (D. Or.).
A $1.925 million settlement has been reached in a case in which an atheist parolee was jailed after he complained about being compelled to participate in a faith-based drug rehab program that violated his beliefs. He served a year in prison on a narcotics conviction and was initially released on parole, but had that parole revoked following his complaints to parole officials about having to participate in a drug recovery program that would require him to acknowledge the existence of a "higher power." His lawsuit, filed after serving an additional three months in prison, sought damages from both the California Department of Corrections and the private substance abuse firm the state contracted with to carry out drug treatment programs for parolees. The state will pay the plaintiff $1 million under the settlement, while the private firm will pay $925,000. The California Department of Corrections also issued a directive that parolees who object to faith-based treatment programs should be referred to nonreligious programs. Hazle v. Crofoot, #2:08-cv-02295, U.S. Dist. Court, (E.D. Calif. Oct. 14, 2014). In a federal appeals court case prior to the settlement, Hazle v. Crofoot, #11-15354, 727 F.3d 983 (9th Cir. 2013), the court held that the plaintiff was entitled to compensatory damages because his First Amendment rights to religious freedom were violated when his parole was revoked because he refused to participate in the residential drug treatment program. He should have been granted a new trial after a jury awarded him nothing, the court ruled.
A federal appeals court ruled that five death-row prisoners raised viable claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000cc-1(a) as to whether their right to practice their Native American religion was substantially burdened without using the least restrictive means to serve a compelling governmental interest. There was a triable issue of fact under the statute whether they had a right to access a sweat lodge for religious ceremonies, or the right to buffalo meat and other traditional foods for a once a year religious powwow. The plaintiffs could not, however, attempt to collect money damages under the statute from prison officials sued in their individual capacities. Haight v. Thompson, #13-6005, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 15703, 2014 Fed. App. 188P (6th Cir.).
A prisoner who was a practicing Muslim claimed that officials unconstitutionally burdened his religious exercise when they ordered him to produce a urine sample within a three hour time frame when he was fasting to observe Ramadan. The appeals court found that this gave him a choice of either providing the urine sample by drinking water, thus breaking his fast, or facing disciplinary sanctions, and that this substantially burdened his First Amendment exercise of religion. His claim for damages was allowed to proceed, but his claim for injunctive relief was moot because the relevant directive had been changed. Holland v. Goord, #13-2694, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 13142 (2nd Cir.).
An Idaho state prisoner claimed that prison officials had imposed an unwarranted burden on his exercise of religion in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. Specifically, he claimed that his opportunities for access to chapel facilities were curtailed when the defendants found out that he was using the chapel in furtherance of romantic relationships with correctional officers. The federal appeals court ruled that the plaintiff could not seek money damages against prison officials in their individual capacities under the statute. The statute was passed by Congress under its spending power, and the individuals were not the recipients of any federal funds. The plaintiff also asserted a First Amendment retaliation claim, alleging that the actions taken were in retaliation for his success in an earlier lawsuit. Insufficient evidence of any such motive was presented, however. Wood v. Yordy, #12-35336, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 10256 (9th Cir.).
A federal appeals court upheld a ruling that South Dakota Native American inmates had met their burden that a prison ban on tobacco use substantially burdened their religious freedom in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc-1(a). The fact that some Native Americans who practice the Lakota religion would accept red willow bark as an alternative to tobacco did not alter the ruling. Even if it were shown that the ban furthered compelling interests in order and security, it was not the least restrictive means of doing so. The trial court's remedial orders, limiting the amount of tobacco used in activities, did not go further than needed to remedy the rights violation, and therefore complied with the Prison Litigation Reform Act under 18 U.S.C.S. § 3626(a)(1)(A). Native American Council v. Weber, #13-2745, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 7766 (8th Cir.).
An atheist prisoner left a substance abuse program with required meetings and which invoked religious tenets by using a "serenity prayer" and religious meditations. He claimed that he was then denied early release on parole for failure to complete the program, and that this violated his First Amendment rights to religious freedom. A federal appeals court held that these allegations adequately stated a claim for an Establishment Clause violation, and the personal involvement of two defendants that could be a basis for their liability. He had not, however, so far alleged facts sufficient to establish the personal involvement of a third defendant. Jackson v. Nixon, #12-2531, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 5721 (8th Cir.).
A Native American prisoner serving a life sentence for murdering his daughter claimed that correctional officials violated his constitutional and statutory rights to religious freedom by denying him access to the prison's sweatlodge. Prison officials claimed that the cost of providing the necessary security to accompany him from the special protective unit he was housed in to the sweatlodge was "unduly burdensome." A federal appeals court disagreed, finding that the burden to his exercise of religion was high, given that he was granted no access of any ki9nd, ever, to a religious exercise, and the cost to the prison left undefined by the record and thus presumably low." Under these circumstances, the appeals court concluded, a reasonable fact finder could find a violation of the prisoner's statutory right to religious freedom. Yellowbear, Jr. v. Lampert, #12-8048, (10th Cir.).
A Muslim prisoner challenged a prison policy that conditioned accommodation of participation of Ramadan (fasting, special meals at night, etc.) on possession of a "physical indicia" of faith, such as a Quran, Kufi, prayer rug, or written religious material obtained from the prison chaplain's office. Those who did not have these items were deemed insincere in their religious beliefs and barred from participating in Ramadan. The plaintiff was classified as insincere. A federal appeals court overturned summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity for the defendants, despite the fact that the policy had later been abandoned. The defendants failed to show that the policy, as it was applied to the plaintiff, did not violate the First Amendment. Qualified immunity was not available, as the rights at issue were clearly established. The defendants also failed to meet a burden of showing that it was "absolutely clear" that they would not later reinstate the same policy. Wall v. Wade, #13-6355, 741 F.3d 492 (4th Cir. 2014).
Detainees at Guantanamo Bay who were cleared for release but remain detained there went on a hunger strike demanding their release, and were force fed. A federal appeals court held that they had the right to challenge the conditions of their confinement in a habeas corpus proceeding, and that their claims were not barred by the Military Commissions Act. The prisoners, however, failed to establish that they were entitled to a preliminary injunction against the forced feeding, since it served legitimate penological interests in preserving the lives of the detainees and maintaining security and discipline. They failed to show a likelihood that the force-feeding was unconstitutional. The court also ruled that the protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply to the detainees. As nonresident aliens, they were not protected persons under the statute. Aamer v. Obama, #13-5223, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 2513 (D.C. Cir.).
A prisoner who had been released from custody pursued a lawsuit asserting claims for deliberate indifference to his mental health needs, violations of his right to exercise his religion, and interference with his right of access to the courts. A federal appeals court held that his claims for declaratory and injunctive relief were moot as he was no longer in custody. His claim concerning his mental health treatment boiled down with a mere disagreement with the treatment provided, which was inadequate for a federal civil rights claim. His claims concerning religious freedom and access to the courts were properly dismissed, as he failed to exhaust available administrative remedies concerning these issues, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Lastly, he was properly denied an appointed lawyer as he was unlikely to succeed on the merits and was able to present the case adequately by himself. Cano v. Taylor, #10-17030, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 703 (9th Cir.).
A Michigan prisoner was placed in administrative segregation for close to 13 years because he was considered an escape risk. He was serving a sentence from attempted escape as well as two years for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and a life sentence for murder. Most of that time, he was in a maximum security facility. He filed a lawsuit claiming that his statutory and First Amendment religious freedom rights had been violated while he was in segregation and that he was denied access to Christian worship services and kept in segregation without any meaningful review. While a federal appeals court agreed that no violation of his religious freedom rights had been shown, it also ruled that summary judgment for the defendants was improperly granted on a due process claim. There were disputed factual issues, including whether the four misconduct reports concerning his behavior over a ten year time period was sufficient to keep him in administrative detention or whether the "aging" escape history justified it. Selby v. Caruso, #13-1248, 734 F.3d 554 (6th Cir. 2013).
A Muslim prisoner claimed that three state prison officials substantially burdened his religious freedom in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) by disciplining him for harassment and making statements of a personal nature to a staff member when he gave a Quran to one of them following an incident. A federal appeals court rejected claims against the state officials in their official capacity as the statute does not authorize claims for money damages against state officials. Claims against them in their individual capacities were also rejected as no such private right of action against individual state officials is created. Washington v. Gonyea, #11-980, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 18759 (2nd Cir.).
An inmate decided to adopt a "spiritual name" of Prince Atum-Ra Uhuru Mutawakkil, with Atum-Ra being an Egyptian deity representing a fusion of the gods Atum and Ra; uhuru being the Swahili word for freedom, and al-Mutawakkil being an Abbasid caliph who once ruled in Samarra. He did not explain his use of the term "Prince," and did not claim the name was selected because of his membership in a specific religion. A federal appeals court rejected a claim that the failure to deliver mail to him addressed only with his new chosen name violated his right to either equal protection of law or religious freedom. The state's policy was only to deliver mail addressed to the prisoner under his original name or the original named together with a second name, but not mail addressed to the new name only. The court found that this did not "substantially burden" his religious freedom. The prisoner had failed, the court noted, to seek a formal legal name change in state court. Mutawakkil v. Huibregtse, #12-3121, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 17493 (7th Cir.).17188
An atheist prisoner, in an earlier case, had prevailed on his claim that his request to form an atheist prison study group should be treated as a request for a "religious" group rather than a nonreligious activity group. Kaufman v. McCaughtry, #04-1914, 419 F.3d 678, 683-84 (7th Cir. 2005). When he was later transferred to a new facility, he again encountered resistance to his request to form an atheist group. He sued over that as well as denial of his request to wear a "knowledge thought ring" (which he said was a religious symbol), and the prison's failure to make atheist books he donated available in the prison library. The federal appeals court vacated a trial court ruling that the prison supplied a legitimate secular reason for denying the group recognition because only two prisoners were believed to have an interest in it. It upheld the determination that prohibiting the ring did not impose a substantial burden on religious freedom, and that there was no evidence that the defendants had any responsibility for losing the donated boos, or that there was anything more than negligence, insufficient for a federal civil rights claim. Kaufman v. Pugh, #13-1009, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 16999 (7th Cir.).
An atheist parolee was entitled to compensatory damages when the court found that his First Amendment rights to religious freedom were violated when his parole was revoked because he refused to participate in a residential drug treatment program that contained a requirement that he acknowledge the existence of a higher power. He suffered the injury of imprisonment as a result, and should have been granted a new trial after a jury awarded him nothing. A claim for injunctive relief was not moot as there appeared to have been no steps taken to provide an alternative non-religious program. Hazle v. Crofoot, #11-15354, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 17663 (9th Cir.).
Prohibiting male Native American inmates from wearing their hair unshorn, as mandated by their religion, did not violate their rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. Correctional officials met their burden of showing that the hair-length policy amounted to the least restrictive means available of furthering compelling governmental interest such as facilitating inmate identification, preventing the introduction of contraband, encouraging prison discipline through uniformity, promoting good health and hygiene, and safeguarding public safety in the event of escapes during which inmates with long hair could quickly alter their appearances to prevent recapture. Knight v. Thompson, #12-11926, , 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 15247 (11th Cir.).
A prisoner sought $50,000 in damages because a lieutenant at a federal prison one evening denied him the religious meal he usually got under the Federal Bureau of Prison's Common Fare religious meal program. He was also denied a vegetarian meal, which he said would have satisfied him. A federal appeals court ruled that this one isolated incident did not reflect, either on the part of the lieutenant or the prison, a policy of refusing to provide religious or vegetarian meals and did not substantially burden his religious beliefs. The court further found that just missing one meal was not enough to shown an Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment violation. Watkins v. Rogers, #13-6040, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 9927 (10th Cir.).
A prisoner who is a member of the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem took a "Nazirite vow," that committed him not to cut his hair. When he had to appear in court, the prison gave him a choice of either having a haircut to cut his dreadlocks or segregation as a punishment for avoiding his scheduled trip to court. He chose the haircut, but claimed that this violated his right to religious freedom. A federal appeals court rejected this claim, noting that the "Nazirite vow" was an optional rather than mandatory observance of his religion and that past precedent recognizes the validity of rules regulating prisoner's hairstyles for reasons of security. Lewis v. Sternes, #11-3297, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 6154 (7th Cir.).
California prisons employ full-time and part-time chaplains of five religions: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, and Native American. Inmates who are adherents of the Wiccan religion claimed that their rights were violated by refusing to hire a full-time paid Wiccan chaplain, and by failing to apply neutral criteria in determining whether paid chaplains were needed to serve the needs of inmates who practiced religions outside of the five faiths currently favored, A federal appeals court rejected the prisoners' First Amendment religious freedom claims as it was well established that they were not entitled to a chaplain of their choice. Their equal protection claim was rejected as a volunteer Wiccan chaplain currently provided services. But the court found that the prisoners' assertion that the policy in place improperly favored the five faiths in violation of the Establishment of Religion clause of the First Amendment and the California state Constitution stated a viable claim. Hartmann v. California Dept. of Corrections, #11-16008, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 3385 (9th Cir.).
A prisoner was entitled to receive vegetarian meals on religious grounds. When an officer brought him a non-vegetarian breakfast, he alleged put his fingertips on the open food port in his cell door. He claimed that the officer them sprayed him with pepper spray with no warning. His lawsuit claimed that the use of the spray was excessive force, and that denying him a vegetarian meal violated his equal protection rights. Qualified immunity was denied on the excessive force claim because it was not clear from the officer's version of the incident that force was required or that the prisoner posed a threat. The force used seem extensive and disproportionate to the level of the disturbance created by the prisoner putting his fingertips on the port. The court rejected his equal protection claim as he was not treated any different than any other prison when an officer did not know that he was supposed to receive a vegetarian meal. Furnace v. Sullivan, #10-15961, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 1110 (9th Cir.).
It was against a Rastafarian prisoner's religious beliefs to comb or cut his hair, which he wore in dreadlocks. When he learned that his mother had cancer, he asked for a transfer to another facility closer to her, which was granted. When he was to be transported to his new facility, an officer allegedly refused to permit him to board the transport vehicle when he declined to comply with a state correctional policy requiring him to comb out his dreadlocks. The officer's supervisor then presented the plaintiff with a choice of either cutting his hair or not going through with the approved transfer. The prisoner offered instead to let the officers pat down his hair and use a metal detector to make sure that no contraband was hidden there. The transfer was canceled and the prisoner placed in administrative segregation. He was later transferred, after he cut his hair. A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of his lawsuit, finding no violation of his right to religious freedom, despite his argument that he was improperly forced to choose between violating his religious beliefs and going to a prison closer to his ill mother. The officers were entitled to qualified immunity, as it was not clearly established that enforcement of the policy that hair be cut or combed out violated the prisoner's rights. Stewart v. Beach, #12-3013, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 25846 (10th Cir.).
The trial court should not have dismissed the claim of a prisoner that denial of his request for a conjugal visit with his wife violated his rights to religious freedom under the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. by interfering with important provisions of his Islamic faith requiring him to marry, consummate his marriage, and attempt to father children. His claim, stemming from the denial of this request in 2008, was not time barred despite the earlier denial, under the same regulation of a similar request relating to his first wife in 2002. Pouncil v. Tilton, #10-16881 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 24039 (9th Cir.).
A prisoner who belonged to the Celtic Druid religion asserted that prison officials violated his right to religious freedom because they denied him permission to possess a religious medallion a prison chaplain had said he could order. The prison had a legitimate rule barring medallions costing over a certain amount or which were non-conforming. The expensive and mirrored medallion he ordered violated the rule. The prisoner failed to show that the policy was enforced in a discriminatory manner. McFaul v. Valenzuela, #11-10218, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 12283 (5th Cir.).
Because failure to grow a beard was considered a sin equivalent in severity to eating pork for a Muslim inmate, his lawsuit over a policy prohibiting him from growing a one-eighth inch beard stated a claim for violation of his right to religious freedom. Prison officials failed to adequately explain how their policy was justified by health or security concerns, or that they used the least restrictive means of satisfying a compelling governmental interest. Couch v. Jabe, #11-6560, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 9602 (4th Cir.).
A prisoner whose personal religious beliefs incorporated elements of Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism complained about the confiscation of over 30 books from his cell during shakedowns following a stabbing incident. He claimed many of the books were religious or spiritual. He also claimed that a prayer cap, prayer rug, prayer oil and religious beads were taken. His claims for injunctive relief were moot, in light of his subsequent transfer. He could not sue prison officials or employees in their official capacities for damages under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 as they were state employees entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. Zajrael v. Harmon, #11–1180, 677 F.3d 353 (8th Cir. 2012).
A prisoner sued over a prison policy that he claimed limited the ability of Muslim inmates to perform regular congregational prayers by limiting the time and space for it. A federal appeals court held that the prisoner adequately exhausted his available administrative remedies by pursuing a 2005 grievance against the policy as first set in place by an earlier warden. Given that the same policy complained of was substantially continued by the new warden in 2007, the earlier grievance had been sufficient to put prison authorities on notice of the issues involved JJohnson v. Killian, #10-4651, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 9874 (2nd Cir.).
The transfer of a Jewish prisoner to a prison located at a distance from major cities did not violate his right to religious freedom, even though it was too far away for religious volunteers to travel to provide him with services. The law does not protect prisoners from transfers to facilities which they view as unfavorable. There was no evidence that the defendants precluded visits to the facilities by rabbis or other Jewish religious volunteers. Bader v. Wrenn, #11-1634, 675 F.3d 95 (1st Cir. 2012).
A federal appeals court rejected a Jewish prisoner's claim that his right to practice his religion was violated by a denial of his request to eat his meals in a "succah" or tent-like booth that he wanted to erect during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity from liability, as it was "not apparent" that his rights to reasonable religious dietary accommodations included the use of a succah. Sisney v. Reisch, #10-3003, 674 F.3d 839 (8th Cir. 2012).
A prisoner who claimed that her Bible, rosary beads and other religious materials were taken during a shakedown of her cell while she was in punitive segregation and were not subsequently returned stated a claim for violation of her right to religious freedom. One judge on the three-judge panel believed that going forward on the claim as to the deprivation of the rosary beads was improper because the prison prohibited an inmate in segregation "to possess any item, including rosary beads, that could be wrapped around the neck to commit suicide." Kendrick v. Pope, #11-1564, 671 F.3d 686 (8th Cir. 2012).
A prisoner who belongs to the Ahlus Sunnati Wal Jama'ah faith argued that none of the services two prisons offered for three varieties of Islam (Nation of Islam, Moorish Science Temple, and Sunni) were sufficient to meet his religious needs. A federal appeals court found that individual state prison officials, since they were not personally the grant "recipients" of federal funds, could not be held individually liable under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) of 2000, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc et seq. That statute was passed under the spending power given to Congress by the Constitution. As to a claim under the First Amendment, it was not clearly established that the providing of Sunni religious services was inadequate for prisoners of his faith. Sharp v. Johnson, #08–2174, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 2560 (3rd Cir.).
On a Native American prisoner's claim that state correctional officials substantially burdened the practice of his religion, he could not pursue money damages claims against them in their official capacity because of the Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity of the state. Since the prisoner had subsequently been freed from incarceration, his claims for injunctive and declaratory relief were moot. Alvarez v. Hill, #10-35865, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 1174 (9th Cir.).
After a prison chaplain allegedly advised him that only Rastafarianism requires the growing of dreadlocks, a correctional officer ordered that an African Hebrew Israelite inmate's dreadlocks be sheared. Summary judgment for the defendant officer was reversed. "Since heresy is not excluded from the protection of the free exercise clause, optional as distinct from mandatory religious observations aren't excluded either." If the prisoner's desire to grow dreadlocks was based on a sincere religious belief, it was entitled to protection, even if unorthodox, particularly if followers of another religion were allowed to wear dreadlocks. Grayson v. Schuler, #10-3256, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 730 (7th Cir.).
A prisoner who said he was a member of the Messianic Judaism religion was denied a request to participate in an existing prison kosher meals program, on the basis that the program was only for those practicing the Jewish religion. A Jewish prison chaplain found that the prisoner was not a Jew. A California appeals court ruled that this violated his right to religious freedom under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA). 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq., since the defendants failed to either show that his request was not based on a sincere religious belief or that excluding him from the kosher meals program promoted a compelling governmental interest and did so in the least restrictive means available. "On this record, we fail to see any legitimate governmental interest, let alone a compelling interest, in allowing traditional Jews to receive kosher meals but denying the same accommodation to Messianic Jews who sincerely hold similar beliefs concerning diet." In re Garcia, #C066452, 202 Cal. App. 4th 892, 2012 Cal. App. Lexis 15 (Cal. App. 3rd Dist. 2012).
A prisoner (Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen and member of al Qaeda) presently confined after being convicted of terrorism sued various federal officials based on his prior military detention as an "enemy combatant." He asked for an injunction preventing government officials from designating him as an "enemy combatant" in the future and detaining him on that basis and nominal damages of one dollar from each defendant. A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of the lawsuit. It found that a federal civil rights suit could not be brought against federal officials on these issues due to separation of powers concerns, and the authority over military affairs granted to Congress and the President. The plaintiff also did not have standing to seek to enjoin the possible future designation of the prisoner as an "enemy combatant," since he did not show any immediate and real threat that this would occur. The court also rejected the prisoner's claim that he could sue federal officials under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb, for alleged violations of his religious freedom while he was a military prisoner. Lebron v. Rumsfeld, #11-6480, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 1246 (4th Cir. 2012).
A federal appeals court rejected a challenge to the legality of a prison-paid chaplaincy program that limited the hiring of chaplains to only those who were members of five major faiths--Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Native American religions. While a Wiccan chaplain believed that it was unfair that he was not compensated for his services, there was no showing of intentional discrimination against him on the basis of religion. On his employment discrimination claim, requiring that he be a member of the designated faiths was a bona fide occupational qualification justified by the requirement of meeting the religious needs of the prisoners. The court did not reach the issue of whether Wiccan inmates could succeed in a challenge to the policy, but did say that, at this point, there is no clearly established right of Wiccan prisoners to have a paid chaplain. McCollum v. California Department of Corrections, #09-16404, 647 F.3d 870 (9th Cir. 2011).
A Rastafarian prisoner claimed that a corrections officer violated his religious rights by touching his dreadlock hair without permission. While the jury held in favor of the prisoner, they only awarded nominal damages of $1. Under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(d)(2) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), the court's award of attorney's fees to the prevailing plaintiff were limited to 150% of the damage award, or $1.50. The appeals court noted that Congress, in granting a statutory right for prevailing plaintiffs in federal civil rights lawsuits to be granted attorneys' fees, departed from the normal rule in U.S. courts that litigants all pay their own attorneys' fees. It was accordingly also free to put a cap on such fees in cases brought by prisoners. Shepherd v. Goord, #10-4821, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 22928 (2nd Cir.).
A prisoner who said that he was a member of the Moorish Science Temple asked for a vegan diet. His request was denied, and the prison's chaplain stated that the religion allows members to eat a variety of fish and meat. Ruling that a "personal religious faith is entitled to as much protection as one espoused by an organized group," the court found that the defendant chaplain was not entitled to qualified immunity if his denial was based on his interpretation of the religion's tenets. He would, however, be entitled to qualified immunity if he made his decision based on a determination that the prisoner's religious belief that he should eat a vegan diet was not sincere. The prison's warden was entitled to summary judgment, as he was not involved in making or ratifying the decision. Vinning-El v. Evans, #10-1681, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 19053 (7th Cir).
An Orthodox Jewish prisoner failed to show that a prison's shaving policy, which limited beards to a length of 1/4 of an inch, violated his right to religious freedom. The policy was rationally related to a legitimate and substantial interest in maintaining prison security, and was the least restrictive means of accomplishing that objective. Kuperman v. Wrenn, #10-2083, 645 F.3d 69 (1st Cir. 2011).
A prisoner who belongs to the African Hebrew Israelite (AHI) religion adequately stated a claim that prison officials improperly singled out services held by his religion for cancellation, and disproportionately allocated the prison's limited budget for religious activities to favor other religious groups. The court cautioned, however, that "Prisons need not provide every religious sect or group within a prison with identical facilities or personnel and need not employ chaplains representing every faith among the inmate population."Maddox v. Love. #10-1139 , 2011 U.S. App. Lexis17680 (7th Cir.).
An immigration detainee claimed that medical personnel failed to give him pain medication that he was prescribed after hand surgery, inhibiting his rehabilitation and causing permanent injury to his hand. Rejecting this claim, the appeals court noted that the medication had to be taken with food, and that the detainee failed to benefit from the medical treatment provided because he refused to eat the food he was dissatisfied with. His reason for doing so was that he wanted halal meals containing meat, for religious reasons, but he was provided with vegetarian meals that did not violate his right to religious freedom. Any denial of pain medication was based on his refusal to eat. Adekoya v. Chertoff, #11-1990, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 12685 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.). Editor's Note: As an immigration detainee, the plaintiff was entitled to the same protections as a pretrial detainee, those provided by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In this case, the court found that the medical care provided did not constitute punishment that violated due process.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that states, in accepting federal funding, do not consent to waive their sovereign immunity to private suits for money damages under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U. S. C. §2000cc-1. The decision means that prisoners may still file lawsuits seeking injunctive or declaratory relief to compel states to change policies or practices that they claim unduly restrict religious freedom under the statute, but may not seek money damages against states and their agencies. The lawsuit was brought by a Texas inmate who claimed that he was denied the right to attend Christian worship services because of disciplinary rules restricting him to his cell, and sought damages from the state and its prison officials. Sossamon v. Texas, #08–1438, 2011 U.S. Lexis 3187.
A prisoner sued Jewish organizations that contracted with the Washington State Department of Corrections to provide Jewish religious services to prisoners, claiming that they violated his rights to religious freedom under the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U. S. C. §2000cc-1 by refusing to recognize him as Jewish. As a consequence, they denied his requests for access to a Torah, a Jewish religious calendar, and a visit from a rabbi. A federal appeals court upheld summary judgment for the defendants, holding that they were private parties and not state actors, and did not "foster or further" any government policy. They therefore could not be sued for allegedly violating the prisoner's civil rights. Florer v. Congregation Pidyon Shevuyim, #07-35866, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 7742 (9th Cir.).
A Muslim inmate who attends "Jumah" services on Fridays, complained that he was not allowed to comply with the requirement that he perform ablution, or ritual cleansing, prior to the services because he was only allowed to shower during specified times, and during the only designated shower time on Friday prior to the services, he was required to work. The court ruled, however, that this did not substantially burden his religious freedom since partial ablution, washing his hands, face, and feet, was an acceptable religious practice prior to the service, and he was able to perform such washing at the sink in his cell. Sayed v. Profitt, #10-1491, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 5525 (Unpub. 10th Cir.).
A probationer claimed that the action of personnel at a county courthouse holding facility in requiring her to remove her Muslim headscarf violated her rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc to 2000cc-5. A federal appeals court ruled that her lawsuit was improperly dismissed because the courthouse holding facility fit within the statute's definitions of a "pretrial detention facility," and a "jail." Khatib v. County of Orange, #08-56423, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 5022 (9th Cir.).
A policy restricting a prisoner from standing in the dayroom for extended periods of time for security reasons did not violate his rights as a Muslim to engage in prayer at specific times of the day, as he was able to go to his cell or other places at those times to pray and to stand or kneel there as required. DeMoss v. Crain, #09-50078, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 4219 (5th Cir.).
A prisoner claimed that forcing him, while in a treatment program for prisoners who exhibited sexual deviancy, to recite a "serenity" prayer violated his right to religious freedom under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. A jury at trial found that there had been no coercion to say the prayer. On appeal, he challenged the jury instructions that required a finding that he had been "damaged" in order to find a violation. While some "injury" was required, the appeals court stated, this was not the same as "damages." It ruled that the instruction, by combining the "damages" requirement with the rest of the requirements, without providing any definition or explanation, was erroneous. But the error did not rise to the level of "plain error" because the prisoner did not object to the instructions at trial or offer any additional or different instructions for the court to consider. The judgment for the defendants was therefore upheld. Munson v. Norris, #08-2387, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 9058 (Unpub. 8th Cir.).
A prisoner claimed that his right to religious freedom was violated by a prison's failure to provide him with kosher meals as soon as he demanded them. A federal appeals court, however, found that the record reflected the fact that the prison began serving him kosher meals less than two weeks after his initial request, and that the prison was entitled to assess whether the prisoner's request was motivated by sincere religious belief, justifying the slight delay. As for the prisoner's complaint that the kosher meals provided were both often cold and "lacked variety," the court found that these facts, if true, did not violate the prisoner's rights. Tapp v. Proto, #10-3059, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 25385 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
An African-American Muslim prisoner was told by one correctional officer that he could not enter a gym carrying the two books he was holding, a Quran and a book on the basics of Islam. As he walked back towards his housing unit to return the books, another officer allegedly knocked the books out of his hand, slammed him to the ground, and handcuffed him. The first officer filed misconduct charges against the prisoner, asserting that he disobeyed orders to stop walking away, which was why the second officer responded with force. As a punishment, the prisoner had to spend time in a restricted housing unit. A federal appeals court rejected the prisoner's claim that the second officer subjected him to racial and religious discrimination, and used excessive force against him. Rejecting these claims, the court noted that the second officer had not been in a position to see what books it was the prisoner was carrying, and that there was no indication of racial or religious animosity in his actions. The force used was minimal, and only caused abrasions. Washam v. Klopotoski, #10-3291, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 25272 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
A federal appeals court found that a prisoner had sufficiently alleged that disciplining him for refusing to comply with prison body-piercing regulations imposed a substantial burden on the exercise of his religious beliefs. The trial court had determined that these beliefs were sincerely held. The appeals court ordered further proceedings on whether the piercing regulation was the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest. Cortez v. Noll, #09-15690, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 20583 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
A Muslim prisoner failed to prove that his exclusion from formal prison Ramadan activities violated his First Amendment rights to religious freedom. Participation had been limited to "observant" Muslims as identified by the prison's Islamic chaplain, who selected those prisoners who attended at least three of the four Friday Jumu'ah prayer services immediately preceding Ramadan. Under this policy, the plaintiff prisoner did not qualify as an observant Muslim. By thus limiting the attendance at Ramadan activities, prison officials rationally promoted two valid penological interests: 1) security by reducing unnecessary inmate movement; and (2) economy by minimizing unnecessary expenses associated with providing Ramadan privileges. The prison did not bar the prisoner from observing Ramadan by fasting and praying on his own, and when he later resumed regularly attending Friday prayer meetings, he was again allowed to participate in subsequent formal prison Islamic activities, "including the post-Ramadan fast of Shawwal." The prisoner also sought money damages on a claim that his exclusion from the Ramadan activities had violated his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which requires that prison officials have a compelling state interest to justify placing a substantial burden on a prisoner's religious beliefs and use the least restrictive means in doing so. The court reserved judgment on that issue, pending the U.S. Supreme Court's resolution of the question of whether an individual may sue a state or a state official in his official capacity for money damages under the RLUIPA. See Sossamon v. Texas, #07-50632, 560 F.3d 316 (5th Cir. 2009), cert. granted, 130 S. Ct. 3319 (2010). Hall v. Ekpe, #09-4492, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 21243 (Unpub. 2nd Cir.).
A Louisiana prisoner claimed that his right to religious freedom had been violated by withholding from him a publication sent to him by the religious organization "Yahweh Ben Yahweh" Prison officials determined the publication to be detrimental to security and racist. Rejecting the prisoner's claim, the court found that regulations that bar publications that advocate racial, religious, or nation hatred, creating a serious risk of violence, are valid. The appeals court examined the material at issue, and agreed with prison authorities that it was racially inflammatory. Toliver v. Travis, #2010 CA 0279, 2010 La. App. Lexis 1239 (Unpub. 1st Cir.).
A Muslim prisoner claimed that his rights were violated and that this prevented him from practicing his religion for two weeks. During a search of his cell for unauthorized linens, officers allegedly confiscated a towel he used as a prayer rug and a copy of the Koran, both of which he contended he had permission to possess for religious purposes. These items were returned to him two weeks later, after he filed a grievance. A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of the lawsuit for failure to state a claim. The prisoner had only sued the county, but had failed to allege that his rights were violated by any official county policy or custom. The court also stated that neither the confiscation of the items nor the two-week delay in their return imposed s "substantial" burden on his religious freedom. McCroy v. Douglas County Corrections Center; #10-2080, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 19419 (Unpub. 8th Cir.).
After a Muslim prisoner was granted relief in his lawsuit seeking to have prison officials provide him with kosher meals, the trial court awarded him $73,360.20 in attorneys' fees and 271.20 in costs. A federal appeals court ruled that 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1988, regarding the award of attorneys' fees, did not preempt a Nebraska state statute requiring, for payment of such awards, submission to a state claims procedure, followed by submission to the state legislature for possible appropriation. The appeals court also found that the fee award failed to deduct time spent on unsuccessful claims in the lawsuit and that the plaintiff's attorney spent an "unreasonable" amount of time on the claims on which he did achieve success. As the requested attorneys' fee award was disproportionate to the relief obtained, further proceedings were required. El-Tabech v. Clarke, #09-1554, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 16972 (8th Cir.).
A federal appeals court held that there was a genuine issue of fact as to whether Nevada prison officials had shown, as required under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person's Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, et seq. ("RLUIPA") that there was a "compelling" interest in restricting the access of a prisoner who practices the Wiccan religion to a sweat lodge, and that doing so was the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Under that statute, the court commented, prison officials' generalized reference to the need for order and security is not enough, standing alone, to overcome prisoners' right to particular religious practices. The court overturned summary judgment for the defendants and ordered further proceedings. Chernetsky v. Nevada, #08-16100, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 15856 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
A California prisoner received several disciplinary citations for wearing a beard that he asserted he had to have for religious reasons. The regulations that prohibited the beard were amended so that his beard was no longer prohibited, but the disciplinary citations remained in his prison file, and he wanted them expunged, based on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person's Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, et seq. ("RLUIPA"). A federal appeals court ruled that the trial court improperly dismissed this claim. The state did not argue that the prisoner's rights under the statute had not been violated when the discipline occurred, and the fact that the citations remained in his file, and that harmful references to them could potentially be made, meant that his claim was not moot because the policy in question had been modified. His claims for expungement and injunctive relief would be considered upon remand. Quillar v. Calif. Dept. of Corrections, #08-15414, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 17462 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
The EEOC filed suit on behalf of a class of female Muslim employees against a private company that entered into a contract with a county to run a prison. The lawsuit claimed that it was unlawful religious discrimination not to allow these employees an exception to an employee dress policy that barred them from wearing "khimars" (Muslim religious headgear) at work. Rejecting this claim, the appeals court ruled that even if the employees had a sincere religious belief requiring them to wear the khimars, this belief was outweighed by the need for safety in the prison, "undoubtedly an interest of the greatest importance." The policy of no hats was adopted to help prevent the introduction of contraband into the facility, and to prevent misidentification of persons wearing headgear. Equal Employment Opportunity Comm'n v. Geo Group, Inc. #09-3093, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 15973 (3rd Cir.).
A California state prisoner claimed that prison grooming regulations violated his right to religious freedom. While the trial court initially issued a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the regulations, ultimately it dismissed the prisoner's claims for lack of jurisdiction. It then nevertheless awarded the plaintiff prisoner attorneys' fees. A federal appeals court ruled that the attorneys' fee award was erroneous when the trial court never found an actual violation of the prisoner's rights. Kimbrough v. State of Cal.; #08-17231, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 13039 (9th Cir.).
Religion -- See also, Diet
A prisoner who is a Seventh-Day Adventist clamed that he was denied a vegan diet required by his religion. The prisoner was properly denied a preliminary injunction when he conceded that, although allegedly denied the vegan diet at one facility, he was provided with the requested diet after being transferred to another Oklahoma facility, undercutting any claim of a system-wide denial of vegan diets. Little v. Jones, #08-7095, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 11609 (10th Cir.).
A Muslim woman claimed that her rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc-1 et seq. were violated when she was required to remove her "hijab" headscarf in public while she was being held on two occasions between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. in a court holding cell pending the disposition by the court of her probation violation. A federal appeals court ruled that a courthouse holding cell is not an "institution" as defined in the RLUIPA, so that the Act did not apply, and the lawsuit was properly dismissed. Khatib v. Cty. of Orange, #08-56423, 603 F.3d 713 (9th Cir. 2010).
A "secular humanist" organization sued Florida correctional officials and two religious organizations, Prisoners of Christ, Inc. and Lamb of God Ministries, Inc., asserting that payments by the state to these religious groups to support their faith-based substance abuse transitional housing programs violated a provision of the state constitution requiring "no aid" to churches or sectarian institutions. The lawsuit challenged the contracts the state entered into with the religious groups on the same basis, and also sought an order barring the state from delegating government authority and powers to religious chaplains as to the placement of offenders in the housing programs. An intermediate Florida appeals court ruled that the trial court had erred in finding the "no aid" provision of the state Constitution only applying to the context of schools, but also ruled that the plaintiff organization lacked taxpayer standing to challenge the contracts, since their claim was not a challenge to the government's taxing and spending powers, and upheld the rejection of the unlawful delegation claim. The appeals court certified to the Florida Supreme Court the question of "Whether the no-aid provision in Article I, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution prohibits the state from contracting for the provision of necessary social services by religious or sectarian entities?" Council for Secular Humanism, Inc. v. McNeil, #1D08-4713, 2010 Fla. App. Lexis 5546 (1st Dist.).
A prisoner claimed that a 16-day denial of kosher food, and multiple mistakes in administering a kosher food program violated his right to practice his religion. The court found that the instances of him being served non-kosher food were isolated incidents and mistakes, with no evidence that prison staff intentionally served him non-kosher food. The court ordered that the prisoner be allowed to amend his complaint, however, to provide further detail on claims that he had been wrongfully removed from the kosher meals program because of the discovery of a non-kosher food item in his cell, and that he was wrongfully refused reinstatement in the program for a time because prison officials, for some reason, believed him to be Muslim, rather than Jewish, despite his consistent assertion, throughout his incarceration, that he was Jewish. Colvin v. Caruso, #08-2441 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 9753 (6th Cir.).
An Illinois prisoner argued that forcing him to cut his dreadlocks, which he wore for religious reasons, violated his constitutional and statutory rights. The court found, however, that the policy at issue was justified by undisputed evidence that matted hair created a danger to both guards and officers from concealed weapons and other contraband. The court also found no evidence of unlawful "retaliation" in punishing the prisoner for disobeying direct orders to cut his hair, and commented that the prisoner's claim that prison authorities inconsistently implemented their hair length policy did not show a constitutional violation in the absence of any evidence that deviations from the policy were for illegitimate reasons. Williams v. Snyder, #08-1908, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 4777 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
A New York prisoner contended that his confinement under a tuberculosis hold policy based on his refusal to submit to TB testing violated his right to religious freedom and that he was entitled to a religious exemption from the policy. The court found that it had not been clearly established that the policy was not reasonably related to a legitimate penological interest in preventing the spread of disease or that it was not the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Defendant employees were therefore entitled to qualified immunity. The court also found no violation of the prisoner's Eighth Amendment or due process rights in placing him in TB hold confinement. Redd v. Wright, #06-4315, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 4898 (2nd Cir.).
In a prisoner's challenge, on religious grounds, to California's prison grooming regulations, contending that they imposed a substantial burden on his exercise of religious freedom, a federal appeals court rule that the state's acceptance of federal prison funding did not amount to a waiver of sovereign immunity from suit that would allow a claim for money damages against state officials in their official capacity to proceed in federal court. Holley v. Cal. Dept. of Corrs., #07-15552, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 6977 (9th Cir.).
A Muslim prisoner could assert his claim for denial of his preferred religious diet, a halal diet that includes meats, even though other Muslims may well find religiously sufficient a vegetarian or non-pork diet. There was no evidence indicating that the plaintiff was not sincere in holding his expressed beliefs. Abdulhaseeb v. Calbone, #08-6092, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 6861 (10th Cir.).
A Muslim prisoner sued over a denial of the right to attend group religious services while he was on cell restriction. An appeals court found that his request for an injunction was moot, since state officials had amended the policy at issue to allow inmates on cell restriction to attend such services. The court also upheld the dismissal of claims for individual capacity damages under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc-1(a), holding that such claims were not allowable under the statute. Any claims for official capacity damages under the statute, whether compensatory or punitive, were barred by sovereign immunity. The plaintiff prisoner pointed to no clearly established case law that rendered the restriction unreasonable, so the individual defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on federal civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. Jones v. Alfred, #09-40256, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 26040 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A prisoner failed to show that his right to a religiously required kosher food diet had been denied, when there was "undisputed evidence" that rabbis advising facility officials had repeatedly concluded that a kosher food preparation area there was satisfactory. Boles v. Dansdill, #09-1145, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 724 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
A formerly civilly committed patient claimed that a facility's prohibition on encoded writing violated his right to religious freedom as his religion required him to keep his thoughts separate from "sinners." He objected to the confiscation, after a search of his cell, of personal journals written in code to prevent others from reading them. He claimed that the prohibition violated both his First Amendment rights and his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc-1(a). Upholding summary judgment for the defendants, a federal appeals court found that the plaintiff failed to show a substantial burden on his religious practice, since it was mere speculation that others confined to the facility might obtain and read his journals if they were not in code. Desimone v. Bartow, #09-2541, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 26687 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
A Native American prisoner's claims that his right to religious freedom was violated by regulations limiting his hair length and limiting his wearing of a medicine pouch were reinstated by a federal appeals court. The court ruled that the trial court had failed to consider whether wearing a small patch of long hair as a "kouplock" instead of a full head of long hair actually posed a security risk and failed to apply the proper "compelling governmental interest" and "least restrictive alternative" requirements to the medicine pouch restrictions. Odneal v. Pierce, #06-41165, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 7096 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A prisoner claimed that denial of his requests to attend Mass and to be provided with a rosary and Roman Catholic prayer book to use in his cell at night violated his right to religious freedom. A federal appeals court found that these claims were prematurely dismissed, since there was no showing that granting his requests would create a security risk or be incompatible with his confinement. Ortiz v. Downey, #06-2453, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 6910 (7th Cir.).
Further proceedings were ordered on a secular humanist group's complaint, asserting that the use of state funds to pay two ministries for substance abuse transitional housing programs for prisoners violated the no aid to religion provisions of the Florida state constitution. On remand, the plaintiffs have to establish that the nature and effect of the programs are "primarily sectarian" in order to prevail. The court further held, however, that the state's employment of a chaplain and use of public funds to pay him did not violate either the Establishment of Religion clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or the no aid to religion provisions of the Florida state constitution. Council for Secular Humanism, Inc. v. McNeil, #1D08-4713, 2009 Fla. App. Lexis 19498 (1st Dist.).
A prison policy prohibiting all inmates from wearing beards unless they had a medical exception, which contained no religious exception, was properly upheld by the trial court based on security and discipline concerns, including the need to properly identify inmates and the possibility that contraband and weapons could be carried in beards. A proposed alternative policy allowing a religious exception for quarter-inch beards was not financially or administratively feasible, and the existing policy was therefore the "least restrictive means" of satisfying the discipline and security concerns. Gooden v. Crain, #08-40966, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 25656 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
The sixth in a series of lawsuits brought by Maricopa County jail prisoners seeking to stop the sheriff from playing Christmas holiday songs all day, every day during the holiday season has been dismissed by a federal trial court. Songs played included "Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer" and songs by Alvin and the Chipmunks. In a press release announcing the dismissal, the county stated, "We keep winning these lawsuits. Inmates should stop acting like the Grinch who stole Christmas and give up wasting the court's time with such frivolous assertions. ... But chances are they'll keep suing and we'll keep winning." The lawsuit claimed that being forced to listen to Christmas songs12 hours a day violated the plaintiff prisoner's civil rights, including his right to freedom of religion. Lamb v. Arpaio, #CV-09-0052, Pacer Doc. 25 (D. Ariz. 2009).
A Muslim prisoner failed to show how content restrictions and screening procedures for videotapes violated his religious freedom, and a ban on inmate personal possession of videotapes did not violate his First Amendment rights, since there were legitimate security concerns that the tapes could be used as weapons. The fact that Muslim services were offered in a generic way as opposed to being services for specific sects of Muslims was justified by compelling governmental interests, including security problems, staffing limitations, and space constraints. The prisoner also failed to show that the alternative food offered to Muslim prisoners violated the requirements of his Nation of Islam religion. Jones v. Shabazz, #08-20697, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 24308 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
Muslim inmates complained that they were only provided with Halal meat, produced in accordance with the requirements of their religion, twice a year, while Jewish prisoners received kosher meat four to five times a week. Prison officials agreed to provide Halal meat with the same frequency in exchange for the dismissal of the lawsuit, which the trial court approved. A federal appeals court ruled that the prisoners were prevailing parties, entitled to an award of attorneys' fees under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1988, since they accomplished a "material alteration" on the complained of issue, and that the caps on attorneys' fees in the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. 1997e(d), applied to the case despite the fact that some of the plaintiffs were released from prison after they filed the lawsuit, but before it was settled. Fees of $99,658.48 were awarded. On remand, the trial court was instructed to determine a reasonable attorneys' fee award for the time spent on the appeal. Perez v. Westchester Cty. Dep't of Corr., #08-4245, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 25396 (2nd Cir.).
A prisoner complaining about a search of his cell and confiscation of his legal papers and other property failed to show a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, since his status of incarceration meant that he had no right to privacy or protection from unreasonable searches. His due process rights were not violated, since there were adequate post-deprivation remedies for the seizure of his property, and he failed to show a violation of his First Amendment rights, since he alleged no actual injury that resulted from the removal of his legal papers and did not claim that the seizure of religious materials prevented him from observing any religious belief or practice. He also failed to show that there was a retaliatory motive for the search and a videotape of the search refuted any claim that an officer used excessive force in restraining the plaintiff. Tindell v. Beard, #09-3063, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 24642 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
A federal appeals court ordered that, on remand, after considering whether requested religious items were for a sincerely held religious belief or practice in the Wiccan religion, the trial court determine whether access was denied to them for legitimate penological interests and consider possible alternative accommodations and the impact they would have on prison resources. McAlister v. Livingston, #08-20297, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 22018 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
Prisoners claimed that they were denied the right to practice their religion, Tulukeesh, requiring adherents to engage in sparring and prohibiting them from appearing nude in front of non-members. They are also allegedly required to eat a non-soybean based vegan diet. A federal appeals court found that restrictions on sparring and limiting the practice of Tulukeesh to individual cells, as well as mandatory strip frisks on certain occasions were supported by legitimate security concerns. Further proceedings were required, however, on the alleged denial of the prisoners' requested religious diet, as the defendant prison officials failed to show that the religious meatless alternative menu offered was the least restrictive means of furthering compelling administrative interests. Jova v. Smith, #08-2816, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 21205 (2nd Cir.).
A Jewish prisoner sued over his temporary removal from a prison's kosher meal program. The appeals court found that claims for injunctive relief were moot because of the plaintiff's subsequent transfer to another facility, that a damage claim was barred against state officials under the Eleventh Amendment, and that the prisoner failed to show a relationship between the incidents he mentioned and his removal from the kosher meals program that would constitute unlawful retaliation for protected conduct in violation of the First Amendment. Berryman v. Granholm, #07-2081, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 18068 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
South Dakota state officials were entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity on money damages claims concerning the alleged denial of religious freedom to Jewish prisoners. Prison officials were entitled to summary judgment on claims that it violated a prisoner's right to religious freedom to deny his request to have a tape player in his cell to study the Hebrew language, and his request for additional group religious and language study time. Prisoners were denied access to tape players in their cells for security reasons, and the prisoner did not explain why the time provided for group religious study sessions was inadequate. Factual disputes over a prisoner's claim regarding his request to celebrate the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot by eating meals outside in a succah (booth or tent) required further proceedings as did a claim that a prisoner suffered unlawful retaliation for filing the lawsuit. Van Wyhe v. Reisch, #08-1409 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 20235 (8th Cir.).
Security concerns justified a limitation on medium security prisoners under which they could attend only one religious service a week. A claim for injunctive relief that the plaintiff prisoner, while on cell restriction, had been unable to attend any weekly religious services was moot because of a change in prison policy. Barnes v. Pierce, #08-40620, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 15448 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A prisoner sued a correctional sergeant, other prison employees, and a prison superintendent, claiming that his First Amendment rights were violated when the sergeant allegedly ordered him, pursuant to prison policies, not to publicly display beads that the inmate wore for religious reasons. Without determining whether the prisoner had a valid claim against the sergeant or against the superintendent who denied the inmate's grievances over the issue, the court held that the prisoner failed to show that other prison employees were sufficiently individually involved in the alleged deprivation to be subject to individual liability. Additionally, any money damages claim against any defendants in their official capacity was barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Colon v. Zydell, #07-CV-6490, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 62838 (W.D.N.Y.).
A prison grooming policy that forced an inmate to shave his head in contradiction with his sincerely held religious beliefs substantially burdened his right to freely exercise his religion. Correctional defendants failed to establish that the policy was the least restrictive means of furthering compelling governmental interests in hygiene, security, and space utilization, as required under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. §§ 2000cc to 2000cc-5. The appeals court upheld, however, summary judgment on excessive force claims and claims concerning the quality of prison ventilation and water. Smith v. Ozmint, #07-6558, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 16989 (4th Cir.).
A federal court jury awarded $1 to a plaintiff Muslim immigration detainee on claims that her rights to religious freedom were violated, as well as $100,000 on state law negligent hiring, training, supervision, and retention claims. A federal appeals court found that the trial court, in awarding $642,398.57 in attorneys' fees to the plaintiff, erroneously assumed that 33% to 50% of the state law damage award was intended as compensation for the plaintiff's federal religious freedom claim. A recalculation was ordered of the proper amount of attorneys' fees to be awarded. Jama v. Esmor Correctional Services, Inc., #08-2500, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 17950 (3rd Cir.).
A prisoner did not establish a violation of his right to religious freedom. He did not show how a requirement that he work on Sunday burdened his religious beliefs. The court also rejected retaliation claims by the prisoner, since the prisoner did not dispute that he disobeyed orders, which was the partial basis for the misconduct reports filed against him. Chavis v. Goord, #07-4787, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 13681 (Unpub. 2nd Cir.).
A prisoner failed to show that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to a purported risk to his health posed by his diet and the failure to provide him with requested dietary supplements. The prisoner claimed both that his vegan diet provided was nutritionally inadequate, and that, as a follower of the African Hebrew Israelite religion, he should have been given supplements considered to be "religious necessities": including blackstrap molasses, sesame seeds, kelp, brewer’s yeast, parsley, fenugreek, wheat germ, and soybeans. The prisoner failed to refute the prison's assertion that providing the supplements would have involved security risks. The appeals court ruled, however, that the prisoner's claims concerning strip searches should have been allowed to go to a jury, since there was evidence from which it could be found that the searches were conducted with the intent to harass. Mays v. Springborn, #05-3630, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 15749 (7th Cir.).
A prison substantially burdened a prisoner's right to religious freedom under both federal and Illinois law by difficult procedural requirements to receive a religious diet and refusal to provide meat-free meals during Lent and on Fridays. Further proceedings were ordered to determine if the defendants were acting to further a compelling governmental interest, were using the least restrictive means to do so, and whether they violated clearly established law. Nelson v. Miller, #08-2044, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 14240 (7th Cir.).
In a lawsuit against a prison official under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) claiming failure to accommodate a religious request for a kosher diet, the statute does not allow a claim for damages against an official in their individual capacity, so the complaint was properly dismissed. Rendelman v. Rouse, #08-6150, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 13659 (4th Cir.).
A Florida civil commitment center's policy prohibiting martial arts practice did not violate a detainee's right to practice his religion, even if he and other Zen Buddhists believed that the practice of karate was a form of spiritual enlightenment. The policy was a safety measure designed to aid in preventing threats to staff members and other residents of the facility and applied to those of every religion. Marsh v. Florida Dept. of Corrections, #08-12222, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 10649 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
An Orthodox Jew refused to remove her headscarf for the taking of an identification photo during her admittance into a correctional facility as an inmate. This requirement that she briefly remove the headscarf for this purpose, the court ruled, did not violate her First Amendment right to practice her religion and was rationally related to legitimate governmental objectives in having identification photos of prisoners that would not change over time. Otherwise, a prisoner could quickly change her appearance by simply removing her headdress or hat, posing a threat to institutional security. Zargary v. City of New York, #00 Civ. 897, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 33240 (S.D.N.Y.).
A prisoner could proceed with his claim that his right to practice his Buddhist religion was violated by the prison's prohibition on Buddhist communal worship without the presence of an outside volunteer, based on his assertion that Muslim prisoners were allowed to hold group worship without the presence of such a volunteer, and that no approved outside Buddhist volunteer was available. The court suggested that it was possible that safety and security concerns might be addressed by less restrictive alternatives. A trial court's finding that treating Buddhists differently than Muslim prisoners was justified because there were fewer of them was not supported by the evidence. Newby v. Quarterman, #06-11233, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 9290 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A correctional services company showed that it "substantially performed" its obligations under a consent decree to provide kosher meals during the 2006 and 2007 Jewish Passover holidays, serving the plaintiff inmate 23 out of 25 required meals. The appeals court, therefore, upheld a trial court decision in favor of the company. Miles v. Aramark Correctional Service, Inc., #07-3622, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 7233 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
A prisoner enrolled in a Bureau of Prisons religious diet program, providing special meals to inmates whose religious beliefs prevented them from eating the food generally offered at the prison. He was suspended from the program, however, on three occasions, after he was seen buying and eating non-kosher food, or trading the kosher meal he was provided for a non-kosher meal. A federal appeals court upheld summary judgment in favor of the Bureau of Prisons on the prisoner's claim that these suspensions violated his right to practice his religion. The court noted that the prisoner conceded that he broke the rules of the religious diet program by buying non-kosher food from the commissary, and the court found that those rules did not "substantially burden" religious freedom. Daly v. Davis, #08-2046, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 6222 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
A prison policy that only allowed the receipt of books that were sent directly from a publisher or that had a publisher's invoice enclosed was a legitimate one, aimed at preventing the introduction of contraband into the facility. The plaintiff prisoner was denied the receipt of two religious books sent to him by his sister because there was no publisher's invoice enclosed, not because of any intent to interfere with his religious freedom rights. Even though there was an eight-month delay in him receiving the books, prison employees did deliver the books to him as soon as it was determined that the publisher's invoices were received. Additionally, the prisoner had access to similar religious books through the prison's library. Heleva v. Kramer, #08-3408, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 11021 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
A correctional counselor's alleged actions of sexual harassment in staring at a prisoner for long periods of time repeatedly, and saying that he would like to engage in homosexual sex with him (i.e., that he wanted the inmate to do to him what he allegedly did to his rape victim) was not sufficiently serious to constitute an Eighth Amendment violation. There was also no evidence that the counselor's supervisor retaliated against the prisoner for becoming a Muslim by filing a false misbehavior report against him and suggesting that he fantasized about having a homosexual relationship with a male prison employee. Seymore v. Joslyn, #9:06 CV 1010, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 32545 (N.D.N.Y.).
A prisoner with a number of misconduct charges pending was transferred to a facility that did not serve kosher meals and placed in temporary segregation there. When the warden learned that he was refusing to eat non-kosher meals, she had him transferred to another facility where he could receive them. The warden was entitled to summary judgment, as there was no evidence that she knew of the problem earlier, and it appeared that she acted to correct it as soon as she did know. Cardinal v. Metrish, #08-1562, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 8689 (6th Cir.).
Isolated instances of alleged anti-Semitic conduct against an Orthodox Jewish prisoner did not show that he was not given an equal opportunity to practice his religion with that provided to prisoners of other religions. He failed to show that his right to exercise his religion was substantially burdened. Gallagher v. Shelton, #03-3454, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 27778 (D. Kan.).
A prisoner who belongs to an organization that he "adamantly" stated was not a religion, but a "culture and way of life," was denied his request to use a correctional facility's chapel for weekly gatherings and special celebrations. This did not deny his right to religious freedom. Additionally, the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity, based on the inmate's own argument that his organization was not a religion. Harrison v. Watts, #1:06cv1061, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 26009 (E.D. Va.).
A Corrections officer issued a misbehavior report when a prisoner refused to obey orders given to him and other mess hall workers to stop praying. The officer was entitled to qualified immunity in the subsequent religious freedom lawsuit by the prisoner, as it was not clearly established that a prisoner had a right to pray at his work assignment. Additionally, a prison directive restricted group prayer to certain designated locations. Sweeper v. Taylor, #9:06-CV-379, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 27318 (N.D.N.Y.).
Further proceedings were ordered on a prisoner's claim that his given name was religiously offensive to him and that the prison's action in requiring him to use that name forced him to either violate his religious beliefs or cease accessing his inmate fund account. Al-Amin v. Shear, #08-7681, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 7620 (Unpub. 4th Cir.).
A prisoner's right to religious freedom was not violated by a Texas correctional policy prohibiting prisoners from "decorating" their outgoing mail envelopes. In this case, the prisoner was prevented from putting religious messages on the outside of his envelopes. The court held that communicating such messages to people handling his mail, as opposed to those to whom the mail was addressed, was a "benefit" not generally available, and that restricting such communication did not substantially burden the prisoner's exercise of his religion. There was no restriction on the prisoner's ability to state religious messages inside the envelope. Smithback v. Crain, #07-10274, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 4493 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A prisoner who belonged to the Assembly of Yahweh religion claimed that his right to practice his religion was burdened by actions allowing an insufficient amount of time for Sabbath services, restricting travel time for religious call-outs, and failing to provide seasonal fruits and vegetables. The court found that he failed to show that the amount of time allowed for services substantially burdened his ability to practice his religion or that the restrictions on travel time for religious call-outs was not related to legitimate security and safety concerns. The prisoner also failed to show that he requested the desired fruit and vegetables because of sincere religious beliefs. Strope v. Cummings, #06-3021, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 15720 (D. Kan.).
Because a Wiccan clergyman was not an inmate, but merely a California taxpayer and an applicant seeking employment with California prisons, he did not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of a "Five Faiths Policy" under which the hiring of paid chaplains was allegedly limited to ministers of five major established religions. Inmates of the Wiccan faith, however, would have such standing, should they sue, and could claim that the policy violated both their right to exercise their religion and prohibitions on the "establishment of religion." McCollum v. California, No. C 04-03339, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 11154 (N.D. Cal.).
It did not violate the religious freedom rights of a Wiccan inmate to enforce a policy requiring inmates to check out tarot cards from a prison chaplain and forbidding the keeping of such cards in inmate cells. The prisoner stated that he used the cards for religious purposes, and claimed that the policy violated his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc-1(a), by preventing spontaneous tarot card readings. The policy was justified by security concerns, including preventing the use of the cards for gambling, preventing the exchange of card readings for goods or services, preventing the placement of gang symbols on the cards "which could be used to promote or defame gangs, leading to violence," and to prevent "psychological control, as some prisoners may believe that tarot card-holders have special powers." Singson v. Norris, No. 08-1570, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 1971 (8th Cir.).
A prisoner's lawsuit claiming violation of his right to exercise his religion was properly dismissed. He failed to assert that the practices prohibited, such as the use of a musical instrument or visits by clergy, were required by his religion. Additionally, he was, in fact, allowed to practice his Jewish religion daily, using religious articles he was allowed to keep, as well as on religious holy days. Weinberger v. Grimes, No. 07-6461, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 2693 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
Federal appeals court finds that certain claims for injunctive relief were moot when Texas prison officials stated that they had voluntarily stopped barring cell-restricted prisoners from attending religious services. Claims concerning alleged restrictive policies on chapel use for congregational worship were overly restrictive, in violation of federal and state law, however, required further proceedings. Sossamon v. Texas, No. 07-50632, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 3701 (5th Cir.).
In a prisoner's lawsuit claiming that he was kept in administrative segregation for an "indeterminate" time without required review hearings, an appeals court found that, because of the sparse facts in the record, it was hard to determine exactly when the prisoner's segregation became so prolonged and restrictive to put him on notice, for purposes of the statute of limitations, that he had a possible claim to assert, so that dismissal on statute of limitations grounds was improper. Additionally, the prisoner's claim that he tried to kill himself satisfied any requirement of physical injury for an Eighth Amendment claim. The prisoner failed to properly show a violation of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981, which prohibits racial discrimination in the making of contracts, or of 42 U.S.C. Sec 1985(3) and 1986, since there was no evidence that the defendants conspired to violate his constitutional rights. He could proceed on his Eighth Amendment claims under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, as well as on claims concerning the denial of religious freedom, since there was no information in the record concerning security concerns to justify preventing the prisoner from attending services, nor was there information as to whether individual religious counseling was available while he was in administrative segregation. Arauz v. Bell, No. 08-5186, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 1370 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
Prisoner sufficiently stated First Amendment claim and claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc-1(a), by alleging that prison officials confiscated Nation of Islam literature that his religion required him to study and read and that he faced retaliation for practicing that religion and possessing its religious materials. Limiting access to such religious material amounted to imposing a "substantial burden" on the free exercise of religion. Yates v Painter, No. 06-3302, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 499 (3rd Cir.).
Court declines to dismiss Muslim prisoner's First Amendment claim and claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc-1(a), since he allegedly was not allowed to participate in weekly prayer services or to fast during Ramadan (by refusing to set aside food for him to eat after sundown and before sunrise), and was not provided with a pork-free diet. Further proceedings were needed to determine whether these restrictions were reasonably related to legitimate penological interests and whether the policies at issue were the least restrictive means of accommodating the prisoner's rights under the RLUIPA. Foster v. Ouachita Correctional Center, Civil Action No. 07-1519, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 92914 (W.D. La.).
Prisoners who are adherents of the Wiccan religion failed to show that a prison, in granting them three hours to celebrate the most important of eight Wiccan holidays, Samhain, and limiting the quantity of food available for the celebration, violated their right to religious freedom. Gladson v. Iowa Department of Corrections; 07-3528, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis (8th Cir.).
A federal prisoner was not relieved, on the basis of his religious freedom rights, of his obligation to comply with a valid and generally applicable neutral law, the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 (DNA Act), 42 U.S.C.S. §§ 14135-14135e. He failed to show that the law required or prohibited conduct in violation of his religion or impeded his religious observance. He also failed to show that the government did not have a legitimate interest in collecting a DNA sample from him because he was a first-time offender and had been convicted of a non-violent crime. The court also rejected due process/equal protection, self-incrimination, and Fourth Amendment challenges to the statute. Kaemmerling v. Lappin, No. 07-5065, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 26507 (D.C.Cir.).
The plaintiff prisoners' purchase of non-kosher food items from the prison store provided prison officials with some objective factors to use in determining whether their request for a kosher diet was based on a sincere religious belief. A policy of removing, temporarily, such prisoners from the kosher meal program while they possessed non-kosher food did not violate the First Amendment. Ketzner v. Williams, No. 4:06-CV-73, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 90500 (W.D. Mich.).
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections did not violate the rights of a Rastafarian prisoner by denying his request to hold weekly group Rastafarian services. The Department requires that approved religious leaders or chaplains lead such services, and provides such services to all of the largest major religions. Rastafarians, according to the court, are not a "major" faith group and the Department had budgetary reasons for failing to pay for a Rastafarian religious leader come to the facility to hold group services. It could not afford to provide chaplains for every faith. The plaintiff prisoner was provided with alternatives to group worship services, including keeping religious books and materials in his cell, personal meetings with a religious advisor, and asking for a religious exemption from the facility's hair length regulations. Smith v. Kyler, No. 08-1731, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 21341 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
Wardens who delegated to the assistant warden the job of reviewing inmate grievances could not be held liable for refusing to provide a prisoner with a vegan diet that he claimed was religiously required. The wardens therefore were not personally involved in the alleged violation of the plaintiff's rights, as they did not personally review his grievances. The prisoner, who was no longer incarcerated, was not entitled to injunctive relief. Wofford v. Sutton, Case No. 3:03-cv-725, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 78319 (S.D. Ill.).
The record failed to show how a prison's limit of ten books in a prisoner's cell furthered safety and security interests. The appeals court ordered further proceedings on the prisoner's lawsuit challenging the removal of 57 books, including the Koran and other religious books, from his cell under the policy, claiming that this violated his rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc et seq. Warren v. Pennsylvania, No. 07-3011, 07-3011, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 17395 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
The hair length and facial hair policies of the Arkansas Department of Corrections were justified by the need to minimize the smuggling of contraband and reduce opportunities for prisoners disguising themselves by removing hair, and did not violate religious freedom rights under the First Amendment or under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc et seq. The court also rejected an equal protection claim based on valid reasons for differing hair length requirements for men and women. Additionally, there was evidence that longer beards created security and safety concerns absent when a prisoner is either clean shaven or has facial hair no longer than quarter-inch long. Appeals court also upholds an award of $1,500 to a prisoner on a claim that he was improperly not provided with Kosher meals. Fegans v. Norris, No. 06-3473, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 17072 (8th Cir.).
Correctional officials were entitled to qualified immunity from liability for damages in a lawsuit concerning alleged failure to accommodate a prisoner's religious beliefs when his "Hebrew Israelite" religion was not yet officially recognized, and the sincerity of his beliefs had been questioned in a prior lawsuit. The prisoner sufficiently pursued his claim for daily kosher meals through the grievance procedure, and further proceedings were ordered as to whether the denial of such meals was the least restrictive means to accomplish a compelling governmental interest. Walker v. Iowa Dept. of Corrections, No. 06-1839, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 18631 (8th Cir.).
Federal magistrate finds that Congress, in passing the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, did not unequivocally waive state immunity from suits for damages, so that an inmate's claim for damages against an official in his official capacity was barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity, and a claim for money damages was not available under the Act against a prison official in his individual capacity. On the prisoner's claim for alleged violation of his First Amendment rights to religious freedom by denying his request to purchase an ankh cross, however, the magistrate found that 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e did not bar punitive damages because punitive damages are not for mental or emotional injury. Additionally, even if he were seeking damages for mental or emotional injury, those damages would potentially be recoverable because Sec. 1997e does not apply to First Amendment claims. Porter v. Caruso, No. 1:05-CV-562, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 64347 (W.D. Mich.).
Shi'ite Muslim prisoners presented a genuine issue of material fact as to whether their rights were violated by the failure to provide them with separate Friday Jumah prayer services for Shi'ite inmates led by a Shi'ite cleric, giving them only the options of either attending a Sunni Muslim led service or praying the Zohr prayer alone in their cells, which they claimed was inadequate. Further proceedings would examine whether the defendant prison officials could accommodate the plaintiffs' request for a Shi'ite led prayer service without jeopardizing legitimate penological objectives. A claim by a former inmate for injunctive relief was dismissed, as was a claim for money damages. Pugh v. Goord, No. 00 Civ. 7279, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 60998 (S.D.N.Y.).
The New Jersey Department of Corrections' training academy no-facial hair policy was facially neutral and only incidentally burdened religious conduct. It was rationally related to compliance with federal and state health regulations concerning the use of respirator masks and to a concern about the esprit de corps, which comes from uniformity of appearance. It therefore did not violate the rights of a Muslim trainee removed from the training program when he failed, on three separate occasions, to keep his beard within parameters allowed to him as an accommodation of his religion. The policy would be lawful, the court stated, under any standard of review, including strict scrutiny. Valdes v. New Jersey, No. 07-2971, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 17380 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
Rastafarian prisoner presented a viable claim that his clearly established constitutional right to religious freedom and his federal statutory rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc-1(1)(1), (2) were violated by a prohibition on him growing his hair in dreadlocks. The warden was found to have acted in an objectively unreasonable manner in insisting that the prisoner be prohibited from growing dreadlocks. Further, the court reasoned that a decision by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to provide religious exceptions for hair grooming in its grooming code supported the prisoner's argument that growing his hair into dreadlocks was a legitimate part of his exercise of his religion. The warden failed to show that the dreadlocks would constitute a security problem. Johnson v. Collins, No. 3:07 CV 211, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 52127 (N.D. Ohio).
Prison officials met their burden under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc of showing that prohibiting a Native American of Cherokee descent from establishing a sweat lodge for use in outdoor religious meetings furthered a compelling governmental interest and was the least restrictive means to furthering safety and security concerns. The prison argued that having such a sweat lodge, and allowing access to objects to be used during the sweat lodge, such as rocks, willow poles, deer antlers, split wood, and shovels, which could be used as weapons, would create unacceptable security problems. Fowler v. Crawford, No. 07-2946, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 15841 (8th Cir.).
A prisoner who wished to be provided with prayer beads for use in performing shamanic religious activities stated a viable claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, alleging facts which tended to show that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WDOC) substantially burdened his right to exercise his religion by refusing to allow him such beads. The religion of shamanism, he claimed, focuses on communicating with spirits, and the beads are needed to perform activities facilitating that communication, which could not be accomplished without them. The court found that it was "premature" to determine whether or not the WDOC asserted legitimate concerns justifying the denial. Meyer v. Wis. Dept. of Corrections, No. 08-cv-278, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 51362 (W.D. Wis.).
Individual liability for money damages is not possible under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, so that individual claims for such damages were properly dismissed against a jail chaplain and sergeant in their individual capacities in a Muslim prisoner's lawsuit. The lawsuit asserted that the prisoner was prevented from attending Friday prayer services, eating kosher meals some days during Ramadan, and wearing a Muslim kufi cap. Claims for injunctive relief were moot because the plaintiff was no longer at the jail. The court found that a county policy requiring prior approval for the wearing of a kufi cap did not violate the First Amendment because it was designed to make sure that the apparel in question did not pose a safety or security threat, and that legitimate budgetary problems prevented the jail from providing Friday religious services more often than every other week, while prisoners were allowed to pray in their cells the other Friday. Finally, the court ruled that the alleged failure to provide kosher meals on certain days during the Muslim religious month of Ramadan was merely an "oversight" in the kitchen, which the defendants subsequently remedied. Hathcock v. Cohen, No. 07-13596, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 15921 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
A "safe harbor" provision of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, specifically 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc-3(c) applied to a temporary practice of not allowing Jum'ah prayer at a county detention facility on Fridays while the center was undergoing renovation construction. After the renovations were finished, such prayer services were provided on Fridays, and prior to that, they were provided on Sundays. While the renovation construction activity was ongoing, the facility did not have space available to provide a room for the services on Friday. The court also found that the RLUIPA did not mandate that the jail necessarily hire an imam to lead Jum'ah prayer services, as the plaintiffs demanded. Further, there was evidence that non-Muslims were allowed to prepare Halal meals suitable for consumption by Muslims, which refuted the plaintiffs' claim that such meals had to be prepared by other Muslims. Summary judgment was therefore entered for the defendants on all of the plaintiffs' claims. Tyson v. Guisto, No. CV 06-1415, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 49528 (D. Ore.).
A Wiccan or ritual magician prisoner failed to show that the actions of two prison officials violated his rights when they removed religious "seals" that he had affixed to his cell doors and walls. He failed to show that the seals had religious meaning to him, and the employees stated that there was a policy prohibiting prisoners from affixing anything to their cells which served prison security interests by facilitating inspections of cells and eliminating a source of conflicts between prisoners celled together. The policy allowed the prisoners to have non-contraband items in their cells as long as they were not affixed. Mark v. Gustafson, No. 06-3943, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 13166 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
Prisoner could pursue his claim that a county sheriff and county violated his First Amendment rights by allegedly playing Christmas music daily in the jail, and forcing inmates to listen to Judeo/Christian religious doctrine. The court rejected the argument that the First Amendment claim should be dismissed based on the failure to show that the prisoner suffered a physical injury, ruling that 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(c) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, barring recovery of damages for mental distress in the absence of a physical injury, did not apply to the prisoner's claim. Fabricius v. Maricopa County, No. CV-06-1105, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 37569 (D. Ariz.).
Muslim prisoner could pursue his claim that correctional officers violated his right to exercise his religion under the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc et seq. by allegedly throwing away his Ramadan food during a search of his cell. Harnett v. Barr, No. 9:06-CV-1044, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 19236 (N.D.N.Y.).
A Muslim prisoner's claim that correctional employees subjected him to disrespect, humiliation, and embarrassment because of his religious beliefs did not state a claim for violation of his constitutional rights when the alleged harassment was only verbal harassment and derogatory comments about his religion, and was not accompanied by any physical acts. The prisoner's claim that one of the prison staff members may have "tugged" on his beard was insufficient to state a claim for excessive use of force. Aponte v. Karnes, Civil No. 4:CV-08-183, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 9675 (M.D. Pa.).
While asserted limitations of space and staff and security concerns were valid penological reasons for not permitting Odinist prisoners to gather for services without an outside volunteer, an Odinist prisoner did present evidence that the policy was applied disparately to Odinists as opposed to prisoners of other religions. Barring Odinists from possessing "runestones," however, was justified by security concerns since they are similar to certain gambling-related objects, and no constitutional violation was found. The court found, however, that there were no penological interests that supported alleged limits on access to "rune literature" in the prison library, so that the trial court, on remand, had to examine whether that limitation violated the prisoner's constitutional rights. The court also held that, as to a claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. §§ 2000cc-2000cc-5 concerning the restriction on possession of runestones, there should be further proceedings as to whether the overall runestones policy was "narrowly tailored" as required by the statute. Mayfield v. Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, No. 06-50490, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 11600 (5th Cir.).
A prisoner failed to present evidence to dispute prison officials' argument that requiring him to place his name of conviction on outgoing mail, rather than his current legal name, which he had changed for religious reasons, was a policy that furthered prison order. Barring him from instead using his legal name did not violate his First Amendment right to practice his religion. Ghashiyah v. Litscher, No. 07-3670, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 10729 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
Prisoner's claim that he requested a non-meat diet for religious reasons was found to be sincere. Prison officials had refused to provide a non-meat diet because they argued that such a diet was not required by the religious group, and the prisoner failed to submit to the prison chaplain a written verification of his membership in a religious group and its beliefs. The federal appeals court found that the defendant correctional officials failed to provide any evidence that their basis for denying the request served any compelling governmental interest, as required by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc et seq., or that the rules used were the least restrictive means of advancing such an interest. Further proceedings were ordered on the prisoner's claims. Koger v. Bryan, No. 05-1904, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 8825 (7th Cir.).
A Muslim prisoner's claim that correctional employees subjected him to disrespect, humiliation, and embarrassment because of his religious beliefs did not state a claim for violation of his constitutional rights when the alleged harassment was only verbal harassment and derogatory comments about his religion, and was not accompanied by any physical acts. The prisoner's claim that one of the prison staff members may have "tugged" on his beard was insufficient to state a claim for excessive use of force. Aponte v. Karnes, Civil No. 4:CV-08-183, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 9675 (M.D. Pa.).
A former detainee awarded $1 against a corrections company and correctional officials on her claims for interference with her right to exercise her religion under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000bb, as well as $100,000 on related state law claims, was a prevailing plaintiff entitled to an award of attorneys' fees under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. A total of $642,398.57 in attorneys' fees and costs was awarded. The court found that the results the plaintiff had achieved caused both a change in the defendants' behavior, and benefits for the plaintiff. Jama v. Esmor Correctional Services, Inc., Civ. No. 97-3093, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 32943 (D.N.J.).
Atheist prisoner failed to show that his religious freedom rights were violated because prison officials refused to let him receive a silver circle, free publications, and other books he ordered, and delayed processing and placing atheistic books in the library. The court ruled that the "silver circle" did not have anything to do with the practice of any religion or philosophy, and that a policy of allowing prisoners possession of only generally accepted religious symbols was supported by a "valid secular and penological" purpose that did not advance any religion. The defendant officials also adequately provided legitimate reasons for any delay in the processing of atheist books for the library, as well as why certain other materials had been excluded. The court also rejected, as frivolous, the prisoner's claim that he should have been furnished with additional free bars of soap, beyond those that he did receive. Kaufman v. Karlen, No. 07-2712, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 6181 (7th Cir.).
The refusal to provide a daily "Halal" menu to Muslim inmates who are members of the Nation of Islam was a "substantial burden" on their exercise of their religion. For purposes of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc-1 et seq., the Massachusetts Department of Corrections failed to show that this refusal served a compelling state interest. The Department failed to produce support for its argument that providing such meals would have created conflicts among prisoners, particularly in light of the Department's long standing practice of giving Jewish, Buddhist, and Seventh Day Adventist prisoners with religious dietary accommodations. The court also found than an "alternative vegetarian" diet did not satisfactorily replace a Halal diet. The court also ruled that the prisoners should be provided with closed circuit television access to Jum'ah services. The court rejected, however, the prisoners' claims relating to alleged deprivation of prayer rugs. Hudson v. Dennehy, No. 01-CV-12145, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 16672 (D. Mass.).
Minnesota prison's failure to provide Muslim prisoner with a Halal religious diet, instead providing him with a special vegetarian diet, did not impose a substantial burden on his right to practice his religion. The vegetarian diet, further, was nutritionally adequate. Additionally, the prisoner's claims for injunctive and declaratory relief were moot because the prisoner had been moved to a federal facility. Pratt v. Corrections Corporation of America, No. 06-3556, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 4977 (8th Cir.).
Federal appeals court rejects Muslim prisoner's claims that his right to freedom of religion was impaired by the confiscation of his hardbound religious book and prayer rug. The confiscation of these materials was justified on the basis of legitimate concerns that the book could be disassembled to create a weapon, and that the rug could be used for the hiding of weapons or contraband. Pressley v. Beard, No. 07-4150, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 4208 (3rd Cir.).
When a prison official stated that she knew that prayer oil was recommended for use by Muslims in practicing their religion, this was sufficient for a Muslim prisoner to continue to pursue his claims under the Religious Land Use and Incarcerated Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc-1, but insufficient for his First and Fourteenth Amendment claims. The prisoner was not entitled to summary judgment on his RLUIPA claim, however, because he did not assert that the denial of access to the prayer oil caused a "substantial burden" on his practice of his religion. Claims against a second official were dismissed. Shidler v. Moore, No. 3:05-CV-804, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8872 (N.D. Ind.).
In a lawsuit by a Jewish prisoner complaining that he was denied access to a succah (a booth in which Jews eat and carry out other activities during the celebration of a particular religious holiday) and a tape recorder he claimed he needed to practice his religion, a federal district court rejects the defendants' claims that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Secs. 2000cc to 2000cc-5 was unconstitutional. The court found that the RLUIPA was a legitimate use of the power of Congress under the Spending Clause, U.S. Const. art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 1, and that the State of South Dakota, in accepting federal funds, waived any claim that it was immune from lawsuits for money damages, pursuant to the Equalization Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000d-7(a)(1). Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e, however, the prisoner was only entitled to nominal damages on the denial of the requests to use a succah and a tape recorder, and failed to show that state officials violated the RLUIPA in denying other requests he made to use incense, oils, herbs, and certain other items to purportedly practice his religion. Sisney v. Reisch, No. Civ. 03-4260, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 9832 (D.S.D.).
Prisoner presented insufficient evidence to show that he was placed in administrative custody or kept there on the basis of or in retaliation for his religious beliefs. The record showed that the actual reason for his administrative custody was his "potential involvement" in an assault on another inmate, and that he was subsequently placed in disciplinary custody for breaking institutional rules, followed by a return to administrative custody based on claims that he was a threat to others and ordered assaults on other inmates. The prisoner also failed to argue that the conditions of his confinement imposed a substantial burden on his exercise of his religion. Brown v. Dept. of Corrections, Pa., No. 07-4194, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 3455 (3rd Cir.).
The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc et seq. became "clearly established law" when it was signed into law, so that prison officials were required to follow the law, and were not entitled to qualified immunity for allegedly confiscating several religious publications received by the plaintiff prisoner prior to when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in 2005 definitively declaring that the RLUIPA was constitutional. The confiscations took place in May and June of 2003, and in November of 2003, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the RLUIPA was unconstitutional, a ruling later rejected by the Supreme Court. The court noted that the Sixth Circuit decision occurred after the alleged actions, and therefore could not be used by the prison officials to obtain qualified immunity at a time when the statute was "presumptively constitutional." Figel v. Overton, No. 06-2199, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 3311 (6th Cir.).
Even though a rehabilitation program called the Alternatives to Violence Program was "rooted in" Quaker philosophy, it was a secular rather than religious program, so that the recommendation, by a prison, that a prisoner participate in the program did not violate the Establishment of Religion clause of the First Amendment. Bader v. Wren, Civil No. 06-CV-137, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 6952 (D.N.H.).
County sheriff and chief jailer were not entitled to summary judgment on prisoner's claim that they violated his religious freedom rights by refusing to let him bring his Bible to a jail's day room, since there were disputed issues of fact as to what they had done, and no justification was provided for the alleged refusal. Grissom v. Cole, No. 3:06-CV-00037, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7169 (E.D. Ark.).
Prisoner was not entitled to a jury instruction on punitive damages in his lawsuit contending that correctional officials' serving of a pork substitute showed an unlawful preference for Muslim and Jewish prisoners since they rejected his own Hindu religious request for a modified diet. Even if his allegations were true, they did not allege conduct amounting to evil intent or reckless or callous indifference to his constitutional rights, and he was therefore not entitled to punitive damages. The jury awarded him $629 in damages against one defendant and $1 against a second, on equal protection claims. Patel v. Wooten, No. 07-1030, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 3216 (10th Cir.).
After a Muslim prisoner was allowed to have a vegetarian diet on a religious basis, he claimed that he suffered adverse health effects from it, which interfered with his religious activities. He therefore claimed that he should receive a meat-based protein diet and that a kosher meat diet being provided to Jewish prisoners would satisfy his religious needs. A federal appeals court overturned the trial court's summary judgment for prison officials. Further proceedings were needed as to the extent of the burden on the prisoner's religious activities from the denial of the meat kosher diet, and the amount of burden on correctional resources that providing it would impose, as well as whether there were less restrictive alternatives that would still satisfy his needs. The court did find that the prisoner's beliefs were sincere, so that the denial did involve the Free Exercise of Religion clause of the First Amendment. Shakur v. Schriro, No. 05-16705, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 1255 (9th Cir.).
Muslim prisoner failed to present sufficient evidence to establish whether his right to practice his religion was violated by federal prison officials' alleged failure to provide him with "appropriate meals" to satisfy his religious beliefs. The record in the case failed to indicate whether the prisoner requested, or would have been allowed to store halal food from the prison kitchen in his cell so that he could eat a halal meal on days that kosher meat entrees were served. The prisoner also failed to show that the defendants acted with any discriminatory purpose. Patel v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons, No. 06-3819, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 2423 (8th Cir.).
Muslim prisoner failed to show that a lockdown prevented him from practicing his religion, that prison officials were motivated by discriminatory intent against Muslim inmates in ordering the lockdown, or to raise a viable claim as to whether the lockdown had, as claimed by officials, been legitimately ordered for security purposes. Ford v. Martel, No. 06-16994, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 30243 (9th Cir.).
A prisoner awaiting trial on charges of terrorist threats housed in the maximum-security area of a county jail challenged a jail policy barring maximum-security prisoners from participating in group worship. Overturning summary judgment for jail officials on claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc et seq., a federal appeals court found that disputed issues of material fact existed as to whether this policy was the "least restrictive means" of satisfying security concerns. Greene v. Solano County Jail, No. 06-16957, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 1189 (9th Cir.).
Two Rastafarian prisoners and three Muslim prisoners claimed that an inmate grooming policy prohibiting them from wearing beards violated their rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. §§ 2000cc to 2000cc-5. A federal appeals court rejected these claims, based on a record and established case law showing a need for suppressing contraband, maintaining discipline and security, maintaining inmate and staff health and safety, and preventing prisoners from quickly changing their appearance. The court also found that a suggested "less restrictive means" of serving these "compelling governmental interests," which was transferring inmates with such religious beliefs to other prison systems without similar grooming policies, was not "workable." McRae v. Johnson, No. 06-7548, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 246 (4th Cir.).
A federal prisoner transferred from a facility in Atlanta, Georgia to one in Kentucky allegedly noticed that a number of items were missing from his property, which the federal Bureau of Prisons had shipped to his new facility. He filed a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1346, seeking recovery of damages. The property involved included items of religious and nostalgic significance, including two copies of the Qur'an, a prayer rug, and religious magazines, with an estimated total value of $177. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an exception to the FTCA's waiver of sovereign immunity for actions of federal employees, which bars liability arising from the detention of any property "by any officer of customs or excise or any other law enforcement officer," 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680(c), applies to all law enforcement officers, including federal correctional officers. The Supreme Court therefore upheld the dismissal of the prisoner's lawsuit. Ali v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, No. 06-9130, 2008 U.S. Lexis 1212.
Prison officials were not entitled to judgment as a matter of law in a lawsuit claiming that a prisoner was denied the right to practice his Asatru faith (a pagan religion with Norse origins) in terms of group worship. In response to the prisoner's equal protection claim, an official's affidavit failed to show how the prisoner's Asatru religion was different from the Nation of Islam or the Moorish American Science Temple, or other religions allowed group worship services. Gordon v. Caruso, No. 1:06-CV-571, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 65140 (W.D. Mich.).
Prison officials were not entitled to dismissal of prisoner's claims that they violated his First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech in refusing to mail 13 letters he tried to send to Baptist churches and ministers to seek prayer partners and religious pen pals. These actions were taken to enforce a rule barring correspondence soliciting or advertising for "money, goods or services," including seeking pen pals. Prison officials, in the trial court, failed to offer any explanation of the reason for the rule or what governmental interest it was advancing. While they might yet justify the rule and their actions, they had failed, to date, to do so, as a result of which the dismissal of the case was premature. Adamson v. McDonough, No. 06-12579, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 28969 (11th Cir.).
A religiously-oriented rehabilitation program run by two non-profit organizations under a contract with the Iowa Department of Corrections violated the Establishment of Religion clause of the First Amendment by improperly using tax money to pay for what was characterized as a 24-hour-a-day, Christ-centered, biblically based program that promotes "personal transformation of prisoners through the power of the Gospel." Even though the government did not act for the purpose of advancing religion, the direct aid to the operators of the program was unconstitutional in that it funded proselytizing activity. Injunctive relief was appropriate, but the trial court abused its discretion in ordering repayment from the non-profit organizations for services previously rendered. Further funding of the program was properly barred. Ams. United for Separation of Church & State v. Prison Fellowship Ministries, Inc., No. 06-2741, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 27928 (8th Cir.).
A prisoner who practices the religion of Odinism failed to show that prison officials' denial of his possession of a small quartz crystal and a "fire pit" substantially burdened the practice of his religion. He also failed to demonstrate that allowing him to practice his religion in a "secure location," while barring him from doing so in the general prison area hampered his rights. The court also held that the remedies section of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc et seq., while it may allow for the awarding of money damages, only provides for such awards against state officials in their official, as opposed to individual, capacities. Smith v. Allen, 05-16010, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 23038 (11th Cir.).
California prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity for the discipline of a Sikh inmate in 2001 and 2002 for refusing to cut his hair since it was not clearly established until 2005 in Warsoldier v. Woodford, No. 04-55879, 418 F.3d 989 (9th Cir. 2005), that a regulation requiring inmates to have short hair imposed a substantial burden on an inmate's practice of religion under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc-1(a). Haley v. Donovan, No. 06-55856, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 23236 (9th Cir.).
Federal appeals court overturns decision granting qualified immunity to parole officer who allegedly required parolee with methamphetamine addiction to participated in a religion-based drug treatment program over his objections. The appeals court found that the law on the issue was clearly established, and that a jury could conclude that the parole officer actually had notice that his actions were unconstitutional because of the parolee's letter objecting to compulsory placement in the program. Inouye v. Kemna, No. 06-15474, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 23106 (9th Cir.).
While a prisoner had a right to receive a kosher food diet based on his religious beliefs, prison officials had not intentionally denied him such food. He was unintentionally deprived of kosher food when he was briefly transferred to a facility that did not serve kosher food, but he was transferred again to one which did when officials discovered that he qualified for kosher meals. Under these circumstances, the temporary deprivation did not "substantially" burden the exercise of his religion, justifying the dismissal of his lawsuit. Williams v. Howes, Case No. 1:06-CV-168, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 64766 (W.D. Mich.).
Requiring an inmate to participate in a sex offender treatment program, which required him to attend explicit group discussions of a sexual nature and view certain images, did not violate his First Amendment rights, based on the "vital" public and governmental interest in rehabilitation of convicted sex offenders. Additionally, even if an individualized sex offender treatment program existed which would have met the plaintiff's objections, it would have "unduly depleted" the prison's resources to provide it. The court failed to rule on the prisoner's objection to participation in the program under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc et. seq. on the basis of the defendants' claim that they had not had sufficient opportunity to respond to that claim. Schnitzler v. Reisch, No. Civ. 06-4064, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 72938 (S.D.).
Prisoner failed to show that the serving of vegetarian meals to all inmates at a jail during Lent improperly forced him to practice a religious tenet of the Catholic religion. The jail did not engage in the serving of the vegetarian meals for the purpose of advancing Catholicism or inhibiting other religions, but for the secular purpose of feeding the prisoners. The prisoner's "equal protection" claim lacked merit, because all inmates were served such meals, regardless of their religion. Finally, the prisoner's refusal to eat vegetarian meals was not constitutionally protected conduct. Travillion v. Leon, No. 06-2136, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 22203 (3rd Cir.). See also related proceeding at Travillion v. Coffee, No. 06-1873, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 21959 (3rd Cir.), rejecting similar claims against the private company which provided the meals to the jail.
In a lawsuit by a Utah prisoner claiming that the refusal of prison officials to allow him possession of tarot cards, incense and religious books prevented him from practicing his Wiccan religion, a federal appeals court found that there was enough factual support to conclude that the plaintiff was a sincere devotee of the Wiccan faith. Further proceedings were therefore ordered to determine whether the prison's restrictions were justified by reasonable penological interests for purposes of a First Amendment claim, as well as the prisoner's claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc et seq., requiring that restrictions on prisoner religious freedom be justified by a "compelling" governmental interest and use the "least restrictive means" to further that interest. Kay v. Bemis, No. 07-4032, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 21811 (10th Cir.).
Grooming regulation that required a Rastafarian prisoner to cut his hair to a specified maximum length, in violation of his religious beliefs, did not violate his First Amendment rights because it was reasonably related to legitimate penological interests. Additionally it was not clearly established that it would violate a prisoner's Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to subject him to discipline for violating the regulation, so that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on those claims. The court's decision did not discuss the merits of the prisoner's claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act RLUIPA, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc(a)(1), which remains pending. Hypolite v. California Dept. of Corrections, No. CIV S-05-0428, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 55317 (E.D. Cal.).
Prisoner's claim that he was denied the right to possess a cross and practice his religion, and that he was forcibly given an injection for the purpose of screening him for tuberculosis, in violation of his religious belief against the injection of foreign substances were not frivolous claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc et seq. Trial court ruling dismissing those claims is vacated. Barefoot v. Polk, No. 07-6628, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 16785 (4th Cir.).
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections' restriction on prisoners possessing more than ten books at a time in their cell substantially burdened a prisoner's exercise of his religion for purposes of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000c. The defendant department was unable to show that the ten-book policy was the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest in the safety and health of prisoners and prison employees, so that a federal appeals court overturned the dismissal of the prisoner's lawsuit. The prisoner belongs to the Children of the Sun Church, which allegedly requires that the members of its religion read four Pan-African books per day. Washington v. Klem, No. 05-2351, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 18345 (3rd Cir.).
A Muslim inmate who was an Egyptian citizen failed to show that the vegetarian meal plan offered him violated any of his personal religious beliefs, and a nutritional analysis of the food offered indicated that it satisfied recommended dietary allowances. Additionally, the plan offered was created after consultation with a Muslim clergyman. The court also found that the prisoner did not have an unqualified or absolute right to send confidential mail from the prison to the Egyptian embassy or consulate, so that the alleged refusal to allow him to do so could not be the basis of a civil right claim. Sefeldeen v. Alameida, No. 05-15809, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 13508 (9th Cir.).
Florida Orthodox Jewish prisoner could proceed with his claim that he was improperly denied kosher meals, but failed to exhaust available administrative remedies, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(a), on a number of other claims, including alleged denial of permission to wear religious clothing, and denial of some supplies for observing the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Lawson v. McDonough, No. 4:04-cv-00105, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 37821 (N.D. Fla.).
Appeals court orders further proceedings on prisoner's claim that prison officials violated his rights by delaying in providing him with a vegan diet after he converted from Islam to the African Hebrew Israelite religion. The prisoner's claim could properly be analyzed under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. §§ 2000cc to 2000cc-5, even though the prisoner cited the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which could not be applied to the states, in his response to the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The prisoner was not required to cite the specific statute he was relying on in his complaint, and therefore did not waive his rights under the RLUIPA by failing to cite it. Whitfield v. Illinois Department of Corrections, No. 06-2245, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 12786 (7th Cir.).
Muslim prisoner was not entitled to a preliminary injunction requiring that the prison serve fish to him as part of his diet. He did not show why fish was an absolute requirement of his practice of his religion, but instead merely asserted that fish was important in his religion because it was among the foods identified by Muhammad as "good" to eat. The vegan diet being provided to him sufficiently satisfied his needs for a religious diet, and the legitimate interest of the prison in efficiently preparing meals outweighed his personal preferences as to what to eat. Pasco v. Donald, No. 5:06-CV-141, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 22809 (M.D. Ga.).
Hearing impaired inmate did not show that his right to exercise his religion had been substantially burdened by prison regulations under which he was only allowed to possess ten audio cassettes of tape recorded church services, and permitted him to exchange two old tapes for two new ones when new ones were sent to him. Court also rejects his argument that he was subjected to disability discrimination by being denied possession of bi-aural headphones to enable him to watch his television, since he had no constitutional right to watch television. Sanders v. Ryan, No. CV 03-0523, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 29070 (D. Ariz.).
Warden was not entitled to qualified immunity in lawsuit brought by Orthodox Jewish prisoner claiming that his religious freedom rights were violated by denying his request to wear religious garments (his yarmulke and tallit katan) while being taken to a hospital for eye surgery. The plaintiff sufficiently alleged that the warden had not presented a valid penological justification for a substantial burden on his right to freely exercise his religion. Boles v. Neet, No. 05-1570, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 12177 (10th Cir.).
Prisoner's right to religious freedom was not violated by the denial of his request to hold an interfaith study group or by a deputy warden's refusal to provide him with additional reading material about atheism. The prison was not required to "subsidize" his religious studies by purchasing religious material for him. Further proceedings were ordered, however, on the prisoner's claim that it violated his rights under the "Establishment of Religion" clause of the First Amendment for a deputy warden to refuse to provide him with atheist reading material while approving the purchase of religious reading material for Christian prisoners. Kaufman v. Schneiter, No. 07-C-45, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 32488 (W.D. Wis.).
Rhode Island Department of Corrections failed to show that a compelling interest in prison security was served by preventing a prisoner from preaching religion to his fellow prisoners at any time, as well as that the total ban on such inmate preaching was the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. The prisoner's claim that the ban violated his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc et seq., was therefore reinstated, overturning summary judgment for the defendant Department. Spratt v. R.I. Dept. of Corrections, No. 06-2038, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 8021 (1st Cir.).
Acting warden was not entitled to dismissal of prisoner's claim that he had denied him his right to attend Friday Muslim prayer services in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc-2(a). Henderson v. Ayers, No. CV 06-4348, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 18791 (C.D. Cal.).
Federal prison authorities did not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000bb, by requiring Muslim prisoners to wear kufis rather than turbans. Court rules that this was the least restrictive means of achieving the prison's security needs, and the plaintiff failed to indicate any less restrictive accommodation that the prison might have adopted. Appeals court rejects challenge to Bureau of Prison's Program Statement 5360.09. Jefferson v. Lappin, No. 06-5219, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 31931 (D.C. Cir.). [N/R]
Prisoner who claimed that he was improperly suspended from attending all chapel functions, preventing him from participating in congregational prayers through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan presented a valid claim for violation of his rights to religious freedom under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc-1(a). While the suspension was imposed by the chaplain based on the prisoner's alleged involvement in posting unauthorized flyers, the suspension allegedly improperly continued even after an investigation had been completed and cleared the prisoner of any involvement. Parks-El v. Fleming, No. 06-7151, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 534 (4th Cir.). [N/R]
Trial court acted erroneously in ruling that prison officials did not violate inmate's rights to religious freedom by denying him access to certain allegedly religious books. The court found that the titles of the books indicated that they were "self-help" spiritual books. The appeals court ruled that the distinction between religion and spiritual "self-help" was not viable, and that the prisoner adequately alleged that his sincerely held religious beliefs were violated. Heleva v. Kramer, No. 06-1538, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 1999 (3rd Cir.). [N/R]
The law was not clearly established, at the time of the prisoner's claim, that enforcement of a prison grooming policy requiring a prisoner to cut his hair would violate his right to religious freedom, entitling a defendant retired prison official to qualified immunity against liability. Von Staich v. Cal. Dept. of Corrections, No. C-04-2799, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 73110 (N.D. Cal.). [N/R]
Muslim prisoner presented a viable factual issue as to whether one prison guard and the warden intentionally violated his right to practice his religion by preventing him from attending a Ramadan observance program. Under the prison's rules, disqualification from participation in one religious exercise automatically barred participation in communal worship services. The prison officials failed to show that this policy was the least restrictive means of advancing a compelling governmental interest, as required by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc-1. Lovelace v. Lee, No. 04-7797, 472 F.3d 174 (4th Cir. 2006) [N/R]
Catholic prisoner was not entitled to preliminary injunctive relief concerning his request for kosher meals because this was a request for a religious practice not usually associated with the Catholic faith. He failed to show that he was likely to succeed on the merits of his claim that denial of kosher meals violated his rights to religious freedom. Guzzi v. Thompson, No. 06-10874, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 5132 (D. Mass.). [N/R]
Federal appeals court rules that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc-1, was a constitutional use of the spending power of Congress, and because the state of Virginia voluntarily accepted federal funds for its correctional facilities, it could not avoid the requirements of that statute. Because the statute does not clearly and unambiguously provide for money damages against a state or state agency, the Eleventh Amendment barred any money damages claim against the state under the statute. Madison v. Virginia, No. 06-6266, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 32053 (4th Cir.). [N/R]
Inmate in Wisconsin county jail failed to show that sheriff was involved in the alleged refusal to provide him, as an Orthodox Jew, with kosher meals, or that the jail had a policy of refusing such requests. His claim for money damages against the State of Wisconsin were also barred, first because he failed to show that the State was involved in any way in denying him the kosher meals, and secondly because claims against the state for money damages were barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity. The court also rejects arguments that the prisoner had a right to be involved in supervising how his meals were prepared, or that the jail had to spend additional funds to purchase prepackaged kosher meals for him. Andreola v. Wisconsin, No. 06-1491, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 31210 (7th Cir.). [N/R]
In prisoner's lawsuit alleging that his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc et seq., were violated by the denial of kosher meals, his claim for money damages against the State of Virginia were barred by Eleventh Amendment, but the state, since it accepted federal funds for its correctional facilities, could be sued for non-monetary relief. The statute, the court held, was a valid use of the spending power of Congress. Madison v. Commonwealth of VA, No. 06-6266, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 32053 (4th Cir.). [N/R]
Prison doctor did not violate prisoner's right to religious freedom by obtaining a court authorization to begin intravenous feeding of him to stop what he claimed was a religious fast, which had resulted in serious dehydration. The prisoner had not claimed that he was religiously opposed to intravenous feeding, so there could be no claim based on the method of breaking his fast. Further, since the action was taken pursuant to a state court order, the prisoner's federal civil rights claim against the prison officials and employees was barred. O'Malley v. Litscher, No. 05-3415, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 25661 (7th Cir.). [N/R]
Correctional officials offered no evidence showing a legitimate penological interest to support a policy of preventing prisoners from receiving free, softbound religious materials from the plaintiff religious organization. The Department's voluntary change of its policy, allowing the receipt of the softbound materials following an inspection did not make the lawsuit moot. Jesus Christ Prison Ministry v. Calif. Dept. of Corrections, No. CIV-S-05-0440, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 73813 (E.D. Cal.). [N/R]
Muslim prisoner stated viable claims for violation of his rights in prison officials' actions requiring Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims to celebrate religious holiday services together, in denying him access to religious worship and holiday meals while in keeplock, and in forcing him to choose between attending religious services and using the law library on religious holidays. Prison officials failed to offer particularized justifications for these alleged deprivations, and were therefore not entitled to summary judgment. Salahuddin v. Goord, No. 04-3470, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 26819 (2d Cir.). [2006 JB Dec]
Federal appeals court rules that, in pro se lawsuit filed by prisoner over denial of access to a controversial religious text, the trial court should have considered whether the prisoner had a claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a federal law requiring the showing of a compelling governmental interest before infringing on free exercise of religion, even though the plaintiff did not refer to that statute in his complaint. Summary judgment for prison officials is upheld, however, under the less stringent First Amendment legal standard. Smith v. Johnson, No. 03-2014, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 27178 (3rd Cir.). [2006 JB Dec]
Muslim prisoner who claimed he suffered retaliation from prison officials for complaining about alleged religious discrimination failed to show that the alleged "retaliation" resulted in any harm, barring his claim. Court further finds that the prisoner's employment by the California Prison Industry Authority did not make him an "employee" for purposes of a Title VII claim under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e. Wade v. Cal. Dept. of Corrections, No. 05-15653, 171 Fed. Appx. 601 (9th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
Firing of Muslim inmate cook from prison kitchen job after he refused to prepare a meal using pork, if true, violated his clearly established First Amendment rights to religious freedom. Prior cases from other federal appeals courts provided prison officials a fair warning that their actions were unconstitutional. Williams v. Bitner, No. 05-1930, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 18583 (3d Cir.). [2006 JB Sep]
Muslim prisoner's case manager was not liable for alleged violations of his religious freedom rights based on the alleged serving of pork to him, and the refusal to provide him with his meals after sundown during Ramadan, when there was no showing that the case manager was personally involved in those actions. Additionally, prisoner failed to show that he could distinguish between pork and pork substitute, as he claimed, or that prison official's alleged mocking of his religion was anything more than a "de minimis" (minimal) violation of his rights, insufficient to support liability. Omar v. Casterline, No. Civ. A. No. 02-1933, 414 F. Supp. 2d 582 (W.D. La. 2006). [N/R]
Muslim prisoner sufficiently stated federal civil rights claims against one prison cook and one food service manager for allegedly violating his right to free exercise of his religion by intentionally misleading him into consuming food (turkey ham) containing pork. Lewis v. Mitchell, No. 04CV2468, 416 F. Supp. 2d 935 (S.D. Cal. 2005). [N/R]
North Dakota state prison rules prohibiting inmates from possessing property, such as religious magazines, received from other prisoners, and classifying such "passed-on" property as contraband, upheld as reasonable. Larson v. Schuetzle, No. 20050418, 712 N.W.2d 617 (N.D. 2006). [2006 JB Aug]
Jewish prisoner's claim that the complete denial of his request for wine to drink while saying Sabbath prayers violated his right to religious freedom survived a motion for summary judgment by Bureau of Prisons' officials, because there was a genuine issue of fact as to whether the ban was the "least restrictive means" of furthering a compelling governmental interest in preventing intoxication of prisoners, as required by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000bb-1(b) and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc. Sample v. Lappin, No. CIV. A.05-0596, 424 F. Supp. 2d 187 (D.D.C. 2006). [N/R]
Denial of a prisoner's request for a television set on which to watch church services did not violate his First Amendment rights to exercise his religion. Pepper v. Carroll, No. CIV.A. 05-84, 423 F. Supp. 2d 442 (D. Del. 2006). [N/R]
New York city corrections department did not violate the rights of a Catholic inmate by prohibiting him from attending Protestant Bible study classes unless he changed his religious affiliation to Protestant, even though the jail failed to offer Catholic Bible study classes. There was no violation of equal protection, as a Catholic chaplain was available to meet with inmates individually for Bible study. Policy allowing inmates to participate in only one religion, which they could choose, was the least restrictive available means of achieving a compelling interest in limiting the movement of prisoners for the purpose of maintaining order. Spavone v. City of New York, No. 04 Civ. 8136, 420 F. Supp. 2d 236 (S.D.N.Y. 2005). [N/R]
In a disciplinary proceeding concerning a prisoner's possession of purportedly religious documents found to be subversive, the notice provided to the prisoner was adequate to give him adequate due process notice despite failing to identify the specific documents which had been confiscated. The number of documents seized were not so many that the inmate would not have known that the hearing officer would examine all of them in determining guilt or innocence of the charges. Appeals court holds, however, that genuine issues concerning whether the failure to disclose the documents and confidential source information to the prisoner was justified barred summary judgment against him on his due process claim, requiring further proceedings. Samuels v. Selsky, No. 04-0097, 166 Fed. Appx. 552 (2nd Cir. 2006). [N/R]
In a prisoner's lawsuit claiming that prison officials violated his First Amendment rights by refusing to allow him to organize an atheist study group, federal trial court finds that defendant officials were entitled to qualified immunity from liability for damages since it was not clearly established at the time of the denial, 2002, that atheism was a "religion," and the prisoner did not tell the defendants that he was a member of any non-theistic belief system, such as secular humanism, which had previously been held to be protected by the First Amendment's free exercise of religion clause. Kaufman v. McCaughtry, No. 03-C-027, 422 F. Supp. 2d 1016 (W.D. Wis. 2006). [N/R]
State prison's grooming policy did not violate a Rastafarian prisoner's rights to religious freedom under either the First Amendment or the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc by punishing him for his religious practice of wearing his hair and beard uncut. The policy furthered compelling governmental interests in inmate identification, inmate health, staff safety, and institutional security, and the proposal that a religious exception to the policy be granted was not workable. Ragland v. Angelone, No. 7:02 CV 00786, 420 F. Supp. 2d 507 (W.D. Va. 2006). [N/R]
Prison's confiscation of Jewish prisoner's prayer shawl did not violate his First Amendment rights to practice his religion when he was left in possession of three other prayer shawls, and failed to show that he needed multiple prayer shawls to practice his religion. Buckley v. Presley, No. 04-16576, 163 Fed. Appx. 550 (9th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
Prison officials did not violate the religious freedom rights of a Native American prisoner by prohibiting him from having multi-colored headbands, confiscated a purported quartz crystal, denying his access to a "sacred pipe," enforcing regulations limiting hair length, denying him access to communal services while in administrative segregation, or failing to recognize "Native American" as a racial category. Further, even if a policy of designating holy days for Native American prisoners was "oriented toward" Plains Indian culture rather than toward Algonquin Indians, because officials could not reasonably be expected to know the holy days for all varieties of Native American religion. Additionally, while the prisoner was in administrative segregation, he was not working, and therefore did not need relief from work assignments on his holy days. Thunderhorse v. Pierce, No. Civ.A. 9:04CV222, 418 F. Supp. 2d 875 (E.D. Tex. 2006). [N/R]
Muslim prisoner's right to religious freedom under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42. U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc-1, were not violated by prison regulations and policies allowing him the use of only a prayer towel rather than a prayer rug, and limiting the quantities of prayer oil he could possess. Court also upholds a policy permitting the purchase of religious items only from prescreened vendors. Prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity on prisoner's claim that providing him with pork-free or vegetarian meals, rather than a "halal" meat diet was inadequate to satisfy his religious requirements, because a reasonable official could have believed that the prisoner did not have an established right to halal meat. Ahmad v. Department of Correction, 845 N.E.2d 289 (Mass. 2006). [N/R]
Parolee's claim that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was required, during a mandated sex offenders' program, to recite a prayer with the word "God" in it should have been analyzed under the Establishment Clause, prohibiting coercion to participate in religious activity, rather than on the basis of whether his belief that he should only say "God" while praying at home at night was a "serious" religious belief. Munson v. Norris, No. 04-3938, 435 F.3d 877 (8th Cir. 2006), rehearing denied, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 5248. [2006 JB Jun]
Juvenile facility in Hawaii ordered to take steps to remedy "pervasive" sexual, physical, and verbal abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender juvenile wards, and to stop, except in emergencies, using isolation as a means of "protecting" such wards against abuse and harassment. Court rejects, however, the claim that staff members violated the First Amendment rights of the juveniles by quoting from the Bible or discussing religion with them, when there was no evidence that these actions were based on the facility's policies. R.G. v. Koller, No. Civ.05-00566, 415 F. Supp. 2d 1129 (D. Hawaii 2006). Subsequent decision at 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 21254. [2006 JB Jun]
While inmate's belief that "the Creator Yahweh" mandated that he should not cut his hair was a sincerely held religious belief, a prison policy which limited "Afro style" hair length to four inches was reasonably related to legitimate prison interests in preventing the concealment and transportation of contraband, aiding in the identification of inmates, and improving inmate hygiene. These legitimate interests outweighed any rights the prisoner had to wear his hair in long dreadlocks. Meggett v. Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections, 892 A.2d 872 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006). [N/R]
If a prison chaplain intentionally left a prisoner's name off of a list of those allowed to attend Native American religious ceremonies, he would have violated the prisoner's rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc. Additionally, punitive damages could be awarded if, as the prisoner asserted, the chaplain threatened to prevent him from attending such services if he continued to threaten to institute litigation. An award of compensatory damages, however, was barred by the Prison Litigation Reform Act's, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(e), prohibition on the award of compensatory damages for mental or emotional injuries in the absence of a showing of physical injuries. Meyer v. Teslik, No. 05-C-269, 411 F. Supp. 2d 983 (W.D. Wis. 2006). [N/R]
Rights of Shiite Muslim inmates were not violated by the availability of only an allegedly Sunni Muslim service at a state prison. The services were considered "unified" Muslim services by prison authorities, and prisoners were also allowed to engage in individual prayers. Additionally, there was also doubt that interested Shiite Muslim prisoners could gather the necessary seven persons required for a valid Shiite service. Orafan v. Goord, No. 00-CV-2022, 411 F. Supp. 2d 153 (N.D.N.Y. 2006). [N/R]
Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not subject the federal government to lawsuits for damages. Claims for injunctive relief by Jewish prisoners claiming religious discrimination were also moot because of their release from confinement. Webman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, No. 05-5031, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 7540 (D.C. Cir.). [2006 JB May]
Prison's refusal to allow a Muslim inmate to perform a "Khutba sermon" during a weekly "Jumu'a" prayer meeting was not a violation of his right to exercise his religion under either the First Amendment or the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc. Prison officials allowed the use of a video-recorded Khutba sermon by a qualified individual each Friday when there was no qualified person to perform the sermon live. Prison officials had a compelling governmental interest in avoiding the "elevation" of one inmate to a position of religious leadership over others, and allowing a tape recorded presentation of the sermon was the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Shabazz v. Arkansas Department of Correction, No. 04-3852, 157 Fed. Appx. 944 (8th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
While a prisoner stated a claim under the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, for money damages and injunctive relief based on refusal to allow him to use his Islamic religious name to send or receive mail, trial court declined to issue a preliminary injunction requiring that he be allowed to use that religious name on his mail because the merits of his claims were "tenuous," and he could obtain damages if he prevailed. Further, any harm he suffered was not "irreparable," since he could still receive mail under his incarceration name, and could use his religious name inside the mail. Shidler v. Moore, No. 3:05-CV-804, 409 F. Supp. 2d 1060 (N.D. Ind. 2006). [N/R]
Texas state prison policy prohibiting a Muslim prisoner from having a beard did not violate his right to religious freedom under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, because of the need for accurate pictures of inmates for security purposes. Additionally, he was not denied equal protection by the fact that inmates with certain skin conditions were allowed to have quarter-inch beards, since the policy prohibiting beards for other reasons was equally applied to all religious groups and was adopted for security purposes. Gooden v. Crain, No. 6:04cv127, 405 F. Supp. 2d 714 (E.D. Tex. 2005). [N/R]
Wisconsin prison properly barred inmate from possessing books he claimed were essential for the practice of his "Odinist" religion, when they were found to advocate white supremacist violence. Borzych v. Frank, No. 05-3907, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 5278 (7th Cir.). [2006 JB Apr]
Warden was not entitled to summary judgment on prisoner's claim that he violated his right to religious freedom by prohibiting him from wearing religious garments as an Orthodox Jew while being transported outside the facility for eye surgery. Factual issues existed as to whether the warden's action was reasonable in light of security requirements. There were also factual issues as to whether the prisoner suffered damages because of the resulting delay in the eye surgery. Boles v. Neet, No. CIV03CV00557, 402 F. Supp. 2d 1237 (D. Colo. 2005). [N/R]
Prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity on prisoner's claims concerning their alleged wrongful denial of his request for accommodation of his religious need to possess a crystal as part of his practice of Odinism, since his right to possess such a crystal was not clearly established at the date of the incidents at question. Smith v. Haley, No. 2:01cv1430, 401 F. Supp. 2d 1240 (M.D. Ala. 2005). [N/R]
Federal appeals court overturns ruling that defendant prison officials waived their defense of qualified immunity to plaintiff prisoner's claim under federal statute concerning religious freedom by failing to raise it in their answer to his complaint. The defense was sufficiently raised in their motion for summary judgment, despite the failure to specifically mention the statute in relationship to qualified immunity. Ahmad v. Furlong, No. 04-1450 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 1098 (10th Cir.). [2006 JB Mar]
Prisoner who was held in administrative segregation for three years at three different Colorado prisons asserted several non-frivolous claims, including for unlawful retaliation against him for complaining about his segregation, complete denial of outdoor exercise, and denial of access to "church fellowship," and the prison law library. Fogle v. Colorado Dep't of Corr., No. 05-1405, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 2024 (10th Cir.).[2006 JB Mar]
Muslim inmate could proceed with his claim that he suffered severe emotional and psychological injuries from the alleged denial of "Halal" meals required by his religion. His claims were not barred by the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(e) requiring that he show a physical injury before being able to recover damages for mental and emotional injuries because his alleged loss of 30 pounds of weight while eating vegetarian meals which he asserted lacked adequate nutrition was sufficient to show a physical injury. Further, his lawsuit was not rendered moot because of his transfer to another facility when it was run by the same private company as operates the first facility. Pratt v. Corrections Corporation of America, No. 04-2413, 124 Fed. Appx. 465 (8th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Refusal to allow prisoner who was a member of the Nation of Islam to receive books concerning his religion gave him a valid claim for denial of his right to exercise his religion. Prison rules allowed inmates at the prisoner's "incentive-level" to keep only religious "texts," such as a Bible or Koran, and not books "about religion." Prison officials were, however, entitled to qualified immunity from damages on his claims, as the law on the subject was not clearly established. No claim was stated for violation of equal protection, however, because of the absence of evidence that prisoners of other faiths were treated differently. Roddy v. Banks, No. 03-3735, 124 Fed. Appx. 469 (8th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Muslim prisoner's rights were not violated by county jail's refusal to create an "all-Muslim" living unit, or by its cancellation of Muslim group worship services during lockdowns, periods of staff shortages, or when volunteer Muslim religious leaders were not available. Court also upholds limiting the number of inmates who could simultaneously attend group services, limiting group services to three times weekly, and the strip-searching of inmates returning from such services to a maximum-security area. McRoy v. Cook County Department of Corrections, No. 03C6756, 366 F. Supp. 2d 662 (N.D. Ill. 2005). [2005 JB Dec]
Prisoner was properly excluded from attendance at religious ceremony which was attended by Catholic Cardinal and the Governor of New York, and placed in administrative segregation during the event. Prisoner had expressed hostility towards the Cardinal, and announced his intention of attending the ceremony despite his exclusion and "confronting" the Cardinal for failing to assist him in challenging his conviction. Prison officials' actions did not violate his First Amendment rights. Gonzalez v. Narcato, No. 01CV6102, 363 F. Supp. 2d 486 (E.D.N.Y. 2005). [2005 JB Dec]
Federal statute applying strict test prohibiting substantial burdens on prisoner religious freedom except through the "least restrictive means" used to achieve a "compelling governmental interest" upheld as a valid exercise of Congressional power to impose conditions on the receipt of federal funds. Appeals court also finds that the statute is not an unconstitutional assault on the sovereignty of individual states in violation of the Tenth Amendment. Cutter v. Wilkinson, 02-3270, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 19695 (6th Cir.). [2005 JB Nov]
While a prisoner had a legitimate interest in recognition of the new, legally adopted name he obtained for religious reasons, he was not entitled to have pre-existing documents which pre-dated the name change altered. United States v. Baker, No. 05-10525, 415 F.3d 1273 (11th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Nov]
A Pennsylvania inmate could properly pursue his claim that his First Amendment rights were violated by a state parole procedure requiring him to attend a drug program based on religion and a belief in a higher power through a federal civil rights lawsuit. Should he succeed in proving his claim, this would not have shown the invalidity of either his confinement or its duration, but merely demonstrate that the parole board used unlawful factors in making a parole determination, and would have required merely a reconsideration of his parole rather than his immediate release. Accordingly, his claims were not barred under the principles set forth in Wilkinson v. Dotson, No. 03-287, 125 S. Ct. 1242 (2005), stating that a federal civil rights action concerning the unconstitutionality of state parole procedures may not be pursued under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 if "success in that action would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of confinement or its duration." Nelson v. Horn, No. 03-2284, 138 Fed. Appx. 411 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Inmate stated a possibly viable claim for violation of his rights to religious freedom by alleging that he was denied the right to have a "Celtic Cross necklace," when he asserted that wearing such a necklace was part of the way in which he practiced and expressed his religious beliefs, as well as by alleging that he was improperly denied the right to receive visits from a religious leader of his own faith, and automatically prohibited from attending worship services while in administrative segregation, without an individualized determination of whether he should be eligible to attend group worship. Under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, prison officials cannot impose a substantial burden on a prisoner's religious exercise unless they can demonstrate that the burden is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest, and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. The prisoner challenged whether these denials were either in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest or the least restrictive means of achieving the desired goals. Rowe v. Davis, No. 305CV114, 373 F. Supp. 2d 822 (N.D. Ind. 2005). [N/R]
Federal appeals court reinstates prisoner's lawsuit claiming that prison officials violated his right to religious freedom by refusing to allow him to organize an inmate study group to discuss atheism. Atheism qualified as the prisoner's "religion" for purposes of a First Amendment claim. Defendant officials failed to show that they had a secular purpose for their decision, since they allow group meetings of other faiths. Kaufman v. McCaughtry, No. 04-1914, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 17608 (7th Cir.). [2005 JB Oct]
Overturning injunction allowing Native American prisoner to wear a "kouplock" (a square section at the base of the skull where the hair is allowed to grow long), federal appeals court finds that the trial judge failed to give proper deference to prison officials on the issue of whether long hair on a prisoner presented security problems. Hoevenaar v. Lazaroff, No. 03-4119, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 19361 (6th Cir.). [2005 JB Oct]
Prison officials did not act with improper retaliation by continuing a restriction on visitation of a maximum security prisoner after he was acquitted of disciplinary charges of disobeying a direct order to stop holding hands with his wife while praying during a contact visit. The restriction was legitimate on the basis that the prisoner disobeyed a direct order, and the prisoner failed to show that the defendants would not have continued the restrictions on his visitations in the absence of his filing of grievances and acquittal of the disciplinary charges. Larson v. Cooper, No. S-10708, 113 P.3d 1196 (Alaska 2005). [N/R]
Facility's policy barring a prisoner from taking off his shoes when entering the chapel was supported by reasonable safety and security objectives, and the prisoner could remove his shoes to pray in his own cell, so that he had an alternative means of satisfying his belief that he should take off his shoes before prayer. Williams v. Secretary for the Department of Corrections, No. 04-14328, 131 Fed. Appx. 682 (11th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Prison regulation limiting inmates to a total of 15 books in their cells did not violate the religious freedom rights of a Shiite Muslim, and applied equally to prisoners of all religions. Neal v. Lewis, No. 04-3324, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 14105 (10th Cir.). [2005 JB Sep]
Native American inmate was improperly denied an injunction against California hair grooming policy which failed to provide a relig ious exemption to short hair requirement. Correctional officials failed to adequately show that this was the least restrictive means of achieving compelling interests in prison security. Warsoldier v. Woodford, No. 04-55879, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 15599 (9th Cir.). [2005 JB Sep]
Prison's failure to appoint or hire an individual that met an Indian chief's requirements for conducting "sacred sweat lodge ceremonies" was not a violation of Native American inmates' civil rights. There is no constitutional requirement that a religious advisor be provided for every sect in a facility, or that a prisoner has a right to insist on a religious advisor whose beliefs are completely identical with his own. Trial judge also finds that the First Amendment prohibited the state prison from adopting requested policies preventing non-Native Americans from attending sweat lodge ceremonies, as non-Native Americans had a right to practice that religion despite their ethnic background. Brown v. Schuetzle, No. A1-03-127, 368 F. Supp. 2d 1009 (D.N.D. 2005). [N/R]
Prisoner's allegation that facility improperly excluded the Philadelphia Church of God from an authorized religious vendor list from which he could obtain religious publication stated a claim for violation of the First Amendment when there was nothing to show that the organization was not a legitimate church or religious organization. Figel v. Overton, No. 04-1038, 121 Fed. Appx. 642 (6th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Muslim prisoner adequately alleged that prison officials knew of a threat to him from other Muslim inmates, but failed to take action to protect him. Hearns v. Terhune, No. 02-56302, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 13034 (9th Cir.). [2005 JB Aug]
Plaintiff prisoner's "conclusory, vague allegation" that he was sometimes not provided "non-meat food trays," and that this interfered with his right to freely practice his religion was insufficient to state a claim for violation of his First Amendment rights. Hines v. Graham, No. 1:03-CV-152-C, 320 F. Supp. 2d 511 (N.D. Tex. 2004). [N/R]
Despite prisoner's claim that his religion--the Moorish Science Temple of America--required him to "honor and study" the prophets of "all religions," prison officials did not violate his rights by refusing to allow him to attend group worship and study sessions of Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, and Christianity, in addition to the meetings of his own religion. The court finds that there were "obvious" legitimate security concerns and scheduling problems with allowing an inmate to attend the services of "all" religions. Burks-Bey v. Stevenson, No. 3:04-CV-0096, 328 F. Supp. 2d 928 (N.D. Ind. 2004). [N/R]
Prison officials did not violate inmate's right to religious freedom in prohibiting him from possessing "Wotanist" books that contained the swastika and other symbols of the white supremacist movement and which promoted "Aryan supremacy." There was a compelling interest in banning the possession of such materials. Additionally, the court finds that the "idiosyncratic and inconsistent" nature of the inmate's various requests showed that his requests were not based on sincere religious beliefs. Lindell v. Casperson, No. 02-C-473, 360 F. Supp. 2d 932 (W.D. Wis. 2005). [N/R]
Unanimous Supreme Court, in a case filed by inmates belonging to Satanist, Wicca (witchcraft), and white supremacist religions, rejects the argument that a federal statute barring restrictions on religious practice without a "compelling" governmental interest is an unconstitutional "establishment of religion." Court notes that prison safety and security are such "compelling" interests, and expects that courts applying the statute will give "due deference" to the experience and expertise of prison and jail administrators. Cutter v. Wilkinson, No. 03-9877, 2005 U.S. Lexis 4346. [2005 JB Jul]
Jury instructions by trial court properly excluded prisoner's requested instructions that "malicious" use of force, regardless of amount of force, is always "per se" a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Trial judge also properly dismissed prisoner's racial and religious discrimination claims. Baskerville v. Mulvaney, No. 03-0348, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 10190 (2nd Cir.). [2005 JB Jul]
Shiite Muslim prisoner of Iraqi descent failed to show that he was fired from his prison job with private manufacturer on the basis of his sex, race, religion or national origin, when, in fact, at the time of his discharge, he was not able to work at all because he had been placed in segregation. Alleged discriminatory remarks by supervisor were not sufficiently pervasive to create a hostile work environment. Al-Zubaidy v. Tek Indus., No. 03-3457, 406 F.3d 1030 (8th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Jul]
A county's policy of segregating inmates with contagious diseases did not violate a pre-trial detainee's right to freely exercise his religion by preventing him, because of his HIV status, from attending religious services. The policy served a legitimate purpose and a minister would have visited his cell upon his request. Carter v. Lowndes County, 89 Fed. Appx. 439 (5th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Jewish prisoner failed to allege any specific facts to demonstrate that the alleged denial of adequate medical care to him for his asthma, migraine headaches and sleep apnea was based on anti-Semitic motives. Additionally, his equal protection claim was at odds with his use of the alleged mistreatment of other prisoners to show deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. Federal trial court grants dismissal of all claims in the lawsuit. Davis v. County of Nassau, No. 03-CV-4148, 355 F. Supp. 2d 668 (E.D.N.Y. 2005). [N/R]
Correctional officials acted properly in imposing discipline on prisoner who refused to obey order to take TB test on religious grounds. Detecting latent TB to prevent its spread was a legitimate penological interest and the discipline imposed was reasonably related to serving that interest. Cannon v. Mote, No. 4-04-0222, 2005 Ill. App. Lexis 212 (Ill. App. 4th Dist. 2005). [2005 JB May]
Muslim prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit against state correctional authorities in their official capacity, claiming that they violated his right to religious freedom and equal protection of law by failing to provide him with ritually slaughtered meat while providing kosher meals to Jewish inmates was barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity. His lawsuit against the defendants in their official capacity was, in essence, a lawsuit against the State itself, and the State of Kansas had not waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity. The prisoner failed to sue the defendants, the Secretary of the state Department of Corrections, and the warden, in their individual capacities. Johnson v. Simmons, No. CIV.A.02-3020, 338 F. Supp. 2d 1241 (D. Kan. 2004). [N/R]
A disciplinary rule which prohibits prisoners from leading or participating in work-stoppages, sit-ins, or other actions deemed detrimental to institutional order was not improperly vague when used to punish prisoner who orchestrated a protest over some inmates being prevented from going to a religious service. Garrett v. Goord, 788 N.Y.S.2d 461 (A.D. 3rd Dept. 2005).[N/R]
The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc-1, does not create a cause of action against the federal government or its agencies, so the plaintiff prisoner had no claim against federal prison authorities for allegedly depriving him of kosher meals in alleged violation of his right to practice his religion. Additionally, there is no such entity as the "U.S. Department of Corrections," but even if the prisoner meant to sue the federal Bureau of Prisons, he had no viable claim under the statute he cited. Yerushalayim v. U.S. Dep't of Corrections, No. 03-0076, 374 F.3d 89 (2d Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Correctional facility did not violate a Catholic prisoner's freedom of religion by failing to provide him with "religious meals" of fish and unleavened bread on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays during Lent. Evidence showed that Catholic Church only required that he refrain from eating meat on those days, and did not necessitate the eating of fish and unleavened bread. The facility offered the prisoner meatless meal options for those days, which adequately met the requirements of his religion. Cape v. Crossroads Correctional Center, No. 03-172, 99 P.3d 171 (Mont. 2004).[N/R]
Jewish prisoner's apparently sincerely held belief that it violated his religion to work in a non-kosher prison kitchen was not entitled to lesser consideration simply because it might not be a "central" tenet of his religion, but legitimate penological interests including budgetary concerns and the need for non-discriminatory prison staffing were sufficient, on limited review, to justify requiring him to accept the work assignment. Searles v. Dechant, No. 03-3347, 393 F. 3d 1126 (10th Cir. 2004). [2005 JB Apr]
Denial of a Native American prisoner's request to use homemade foods to celebrate the "Harvest Moon Festival" did not violate any clearly established right. State prison chaplain was therefore entitled to qualified immunity on prisoner's First Amendment claim concerning the denial. Further, the plaintiff prisoner was allowed to use food provided by the correctional facility in connection his observation of his religious festival, and the restrictions on "homemade foods" was applied equally to prisoners of all religions. Pierce v. Smith, No. 02-M-1349, 347 F. Supp. 2d 1143 (M.D. Ala. 2004). [N/R]
Requirement that a prisoner participate in Narcotics Anonymous, a 12-step program requiring acknowledgment of a belief in a "higher power," or else not be eligible for parole, was an unconstitutional establishment of religion, in violation of the First Amendment. Turner v. Hickman, No. CIVS-99-1869, 342 F. Supp. 2d 887 (E.D. Cal. 2004). [2005 JB Mar]
Prison officials did not violate the religious freedom rights of a member of small religious group by prohibiting group worship services on holy days except in the presence of an outside certified religious volunteer. Infrequent occurrence of such services was based on the unavailability of such a volunteer, and not on a rule prohibiting such services. Adkins v. Kaspar, No. 03-40028, 393 F.3d 559 (5th Cir. 2004). [2005 JB Mar]
Federal appeals court reinstates Buddhist prisoner's claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) that it violated his rights to deny him a special religious diet without meat, dairy products, or "pungent vegetables." Exhaustion of remedies under Religious Freedom Restoration Act was sufficient to support claim under RLUIPA, since the legal standards under both statutes were identical. Dehart v. Horn, #03-4250, 390 F.3d 262 (3d Cir. 2004). [2005 JB Feb]
A prison regulation banning both group prayer and "individual demonstrative prayer" in open areas of the facility had a rational relationship to legitimate prison security concerns, and therefore did not violate a prisoner's right to practice his religion under the First Amendment. Further, the regulation was equally applied to all religions, and allowed alternative means of prayer, including praying in cells, and weekly group prayer services in designed areas. Court rules, however, that the defendant prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity on the prisoner's claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, which requires a "compelling" governmental interest and the use of the least restrictive alternative in order to impose a substantial burden on prisoner religious practices, because the defendants failed to assert a qualified immunity defense in their answer to the complaint. Ahmad v. Ehrmann, No. CIV.A.01-F-1164, 339 F. Supp. 2d 1134 (D. Colo. 2004). [N/R]
Federal appeals court finds that statute requiring state correctional facilities that receive federal funds to refrain from burdening prisoners' religious exercise was a valid exercise of Congressional authority under the Spending Clause, and not a violation of either the Tenth Amendment or the Establishment of Religion Clause of the First Amendment. Benning v. State of Georgia, No. 04-10979, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 24842 (11th Cir. 2004). [2005 JB Jan]
Prisoner who is an adherent of the Hebrew Israelite/Nazarite religious group and wears "dreadlocks" as a result, stated a claim for violation of his right to practice his religion in challenging prison policy which limits "Afro style" hair to four inches in length. Trial court finds that there was a viable claim that the prisoner was entitled to a religious exemption from this grooming policy based on his sincerely held religious beliefs. Meggett v. Pa. Dept. of Corrections, 856 A.2d 277 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004). [N/R]
Prison officials did not violate inmate's constitutional rights by force-feeding him after he refused to eat for nine days. Appeals court upholds jury's determination that prisoner's fast was not for religious reasons. Introduction of evidence of prisoner's robbery convictions to impeach his testimony was, at most, harmless error. Walker v. Horn, No. 03-1896, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 20379 (3rd Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Nov]
There was a genuine issue of fact as to whether it would be cost prohibitive to prepare meat portion of meals for Muslim prisoners according to the "Halal" dietary restrictions as compared to the cost of preparing Kosher meals for Jewish prisoners, barring summary judgment in Muslim prisoners' lawsuit. Because of existing case law, however, suggesting that prison officials sufficiently complied with Muslim prisoners' religious rights by merely providing a vegetarian or pork-free diet, defendant prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity from liability for money damages. Hudson v. Maloney, 326 F. Supp. 2d 206 (D. Mass. 2004). [N/R]
A policy of disciplining Muslim prisoners who missed their work assignments so that they could attend an hour long Friday Sabbath worship service violated their rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, because this was not the least restrictive means of satisfying a compelling governmental interest in keeping prisoners occupied or of using their labor to support the upkeep of the prison. Court also rejects prison grooming policy that imposed penalties on Muslim prisoners who refused to shave their beards for religious reasons, as prison officials also failed to show that this was the least restrictive means of addressing concerns about prisoners' ability to quickly change their appearance after escape. Mayweathers v. Terhune, 328 F. Supp. 2d 1086 (E.D. Cal. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner whose requests to be allowed to participate in Wiccan religious rituals were denied failed to show that the Florida Department of Corrections security concerns about such rituals were not reasonably related to legitimate penological interests. The rituals involved would require the plaintiff and other inmates of the Wiccan faith to be taken outside when the moon is visible on the dates of the full moon for private "Esbat" celebratory rituals involving "Drawing Down of the Moon." The court upheld the correctional officials' concern that allowing Wiccans to conduct such private ceremonies outside of the prison housing facilities "presents security risks that are unacceptable." The court noted that the officials had accommodated the plaintiff's practice of her religion in other ways, including allowing her to purchase religious study materials, to purchase and wear religious medallions, to use tarot cards, and to participate in daily meditation. Austin v. Crosby, No. 5D03-1834, 866 So. 2d 740 (Fla. App. 5th Dist. 2004). [N/R]
Intention of Iowa correctional officials to charge a co-payment for kosher meals provided to Orthodox Jewish inmates had no reasonable relationship to any legitimate penological interest in maintaining a fixed budget for food or teaching "financial responsibility" to prisoners. Plaintiff prisoner was entitled to summary judgment on the co-payment issue. Thompson v. Vilsack, 328 F. Supp. 2d 974 (S.D. Iowa, 2004). [N/R]
California prison regulation which prohibiting inmates from wearing long hair was reasonably related to legitimate penological interests such as security, hygiene, prison workplace safety, and prevention of escapes. Accordingly, the regulation did not violate either the First Amendment of a Native American prisoner or a federal statute concerning Native American religious freedom. Henderson v. Terhune, #02-17224, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 16613 (9th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Oct]
Further proceedings were required to determine whether prison officials' refusal to allow a Jewish prisoner to have a Sukkah booth in the prison yard, an enclosure within which to celebrate the religious holiday of Sukkot and within which to eat meals during the holiday, was based on genuine security concerns or were a pretext for interfering with his right to exercise his religion. Defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity from prisoner's claims. Wares v. Vanbebber, 319 F. Supp. 2d 1237 (D. Kan. 2004). [N/R]
Prison policy prohibiting inmates from wearing a visible string of Muslim prayer beads outside of his cell, when the necklace was larger than 1/8th of an inch in diameter did not violate his right to religious freedom. The rule was the least restrictive means that prison officials had of pursuing a legitimate penological interest in suppressing gang activity, and allowed the Muslim prisoner to wear prayer beads outside his cell if they were small enough so that they would be "unobtrusive" under his shirt. Charles v. Frank, No. 04-1674, 101 Fed. Appx. 634 (7th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Prison did not violate prisoners' First Amendment right to exercise their religion by disallowing a request for group worship by a religious group which advocates racial separatism. Rejection of request was reasonably related to legitimate security concerns. Further proceedings are ordered, however, on whether the denial of group worship was the "least restrictive means" available to prevent racial violence, as required by federal statute. Murphy v. Missouri Dept. of Corr., No. 02-3874, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 12239 (8th Cir). [2004 JB Aug]
Prison did not violate "Charismatic Christian" inmate's right to religious freedom by failing to use his new "religiously inspired" name and by failing to honor his religious vegetarian dietary requests. Use of his commitment name in prison computers used when preparing money orders and official documents was justified by legitimate penological interest in holding down costs, since computers were programmed with commitment names. Prisoner was offered a vegetable option in lieu of the meat main course on meals, and a legitimate concern about controlling costs justified denying his requests for raw vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts, honey, whole wheat bread, cheese and grains. Ephraim v. Angelone, 313 F. Supp. 2d 569 (E.D. Va. 2003). [N/R]
Maximum security prison did not violate prisoner's rights under either U.S. Constitution or Alaska State Constitution by ordering him not to hold his wife's hand during prayers when granted a contact visit. His right to religious freedom did not require prison to allow hand-holding, kissing, or embracing during such a visit, and the rule was reasonably related to legitimate interests in keeping the prison free of contraband. Temporary suspension of contact visits after prisoner allegedly violated the rule did not violate his right to due process. Larson v. Cooper, #S-10327, 90 P.3d 125 (Alaska 2004). [N/R]
Texas prisoners, members of the Church of Christ, did not show that Texas correctional officials violated their rights to religious freedom by providing a chaplain who they had doctrinal differences with. Prisoner who allegedly caused a disturbance and walkout by 50 prisoners at services by reading a statement denouncing the chaplain did not show that he was unlawfully transferred in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights. Freeman v. Texas Department of Criminal Justice, #03-10443, 2004 U.S. App. 8998 (5th Cir). [2004 JB Jun]
Native American inmate was entitled to injunctive relief against grooming regulation requiring him to cut his hair short, to the extent of allowing him to grow a "kouplock," a two-inch square of hair at the base of the skull. Allowing a prisoner with sincere religious beliefs to grow such a limited area of hair "is not likely to result in the delayed capture of an inmate in the event of an escape," as it "cannot be manipulated to alter the appearance of an inmate's face or his profile." Hoevenaar v. Lazaroff, 276 F. Supp. 2d 811 (S.D. Ohio 2003). [N/R]
Prison did not violate the religious freedom rights of inmate members of the "Church of the New Song" who were in lock-up during the religion's "celebration of life" feast by denying them trays of food from the banquet. Appeals court upholds ruling that there was insufficient evidence to show that the Church required its members to hold this feast, and the ban on receipt of the trays was reasonably related to legitimate institutional security goals. Goff v. Graves, No. 02-1279, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 5832 (8th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB May]
Punishment of Muslim prisoner for failing to respond to officer's order until he completed his prayers might violate his rights if, as he claimed, the officer intentionally gave the order then in order to interfere with his exercise of his religion. Prisoner was subsequently fed food "loaf" rather than "properly blessed" (Halal) food for a week, allegedly interfering with his celebration of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. McEachin v. McGuinnis, No. 02-0117, 357 F.3d 197 (2nd Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Apr]
Prison policy prohibiting inmates from purchasing Muslim prayer oils and keeping them in their cells was rationally related to a legitimate interest in deterring drug use, since the oils could mask the scent of drugs, but federal appeals court orders further proceedings under federal statute requiring a showing of a compelling state interest and use of the "least restrictive means" to justify a "substantial burden" on prisoner religious practices. Hammons v. Saffle, No. 02-5009, 348 F.3d 1250 (10th Cir. 2003). [2004 JB Mar]
Muslim prisoner adequately stated a claim against a correctional officer for violating his right to exercise his religion by confiscating his prayer musk oil from his cell when he had the prison chaplain's approval to possess the oil and he was told, in response to his grievance against the officer, that prisoners were allowed to have such oil in their cells. Baltoski v. Pretorius, 291 F. Supp. 2d 807 (N.D. Ind. 2003). [N/R]
Prison officials were improperly granted summary judgment in Muslim prisoner's lawsuit claiming that his religious freedom rights were denied by refusal to feed him an "Eid ul Fitr" feast in his cell. Trial court improperly inquired into the religious significance of the feast after finding that the prisoner sincerely believed it to be religiously significant even though served to other prisoners on a day delayed from its actual religious observance. Ford v. McGinnis, No. 02-0205, 352 F.3d 582, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 25224 (2nd Cir. 2003). [2004 JB Feb]
Correctional employee's "non-theistic" spiritual belief that he should not cut his hair was not a protected religious belief sufficient to challenge the state correctional department's grooming policy, since it was merely based on his own "personal and philosophical" choices. His desire to "live simply and avoid excessive pride" did not qualify for a possible religious exemption from the grooming policy. Luken v. Brigano, #CA2003-01-007, 797 N.E.2d 1047 (Ohio. App. 12 Dist. 2003). [N/R]
Requiring an Orthodox Jewish prisoner to fill out a standard prison form in order to apply to receive kosher meals was not a "substantial burden" to his right to free exercise of his religion. Resnick v. Adams, #01-56710, 348 F.3d 763 (9th Cir. 2003). Editor's Note: A prior decision in this case, Resnick v. Adams, No. 01-56710, 317 F.3d 1056 (9th Cir. 2003), reported in 2003 JB May, was withdrawn, and this opinion substituted. [N/R]
Wiccan prisoner's lawsuit against federal Bureau of Prisons seeking to cast spells and curses in prison should not have been dismissed, federal appeals court rules. Further proceedings ordered to determine whether a prohibition on casting spells would "substantially burden" the prisoner's exercise of his religion, and whether the least restrictive means was used to accomplish the government's alleged compelling interest in doing so. O'Bryan v. Bureau of Prisons, #02-4012, 349 F.3d 399, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 22958 (7th Cir.). [2004 JB Jan]
Federal appeals court overturns trial court decision that federal statute imposing strict rule against imposing a substantial burden on prisoners' religious practices was an unconstitutional "establishment of religion" in case asserting prisoner's claim to a religious entitlement to kosher meals. Madison v. Riter, No. 03-6362/3, 355 F.3d 310, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis (4th Cir.). [2004 JB Jan]
Federal statute providing enhanced protection for prisoners' religious practices struck down by appeals court as an unconstitutional establishment of religion. Cutter v. Wilkinson, #02-3270, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 22840 (6th Cir.). [2003 JB Dec]
Housing a Muslim prisoner in a cell with a non-Muslim did not constitute a "substantial burden" to his exercise of his religious beliefs in violation of the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000 cc-1 or the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act, 51 Okl. St. Ann. Sec. 253. Prisoner could pray several times during the day outside his cell and having to pray, once a day, while locked down with this cellmate only had an "incidental" effect on his practice of his religion. Policy of randomly assigning cellmates was reasonably related to a legitimate penological objective of preventing racial or religious discrimination in cell assignments. Steele v. Guilfeyle, No. 97,997, 76 P.3d 99 (Okla. Civ. App. Div. 1 2003). [N/R]
Native American prisoner's First Amendment right to exercise his religion was not violated by prison policies imposing restrictions on a "smudging" ceremony or denying him the designation of a patch of land as "Holy Ground." The prisoner failed to show that these practices were so essential to his religion that their absence would be a substantial burden on religious freedom. Wilson v. Moore, 270 F. Supp. 2d 1328 (N.D. Fla. 2003). [N/R]
New York federal court rules that "Five Percenter" group, widely classified by correctional institutions as a security threat group and gang, is entitled to treatment as a religion by prison officials. Injunction issued allowing prisoner to possess a copy of the group's basic text and numerological devices, with further proceedings ordered as to the possible right to possess other group materials and symbols, including its newspaper, or to engage in gatherings and fasts. Marria v. Broaddus, 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 13329 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). [2003 JB Oct]
Prisoner's claim that prison officials denied twelve separate requests he submitted to attend Jehovah Witness religious services was sufficient to state a claim for violation of his First Amendment right to exercise his religion, so that court declined to dismiss the claim. Gill v. Hoadley, 261 F. Supp. 2d 113 (N.D.N.Y. 2003). [N/R]
A temporary denial of access to congregational religious services and programs while a prisoner was in segregation on a later expunged disciplinary conviction was not a significant deprivation of his rights sufficient to support a federal civil rights claim. Fiorentino v. Biershbach, No. 02-3158, 64 Fed. Appx. 550 (7th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Federal court rules that provisions of federal statute governing a Muslim prisoner's claim violated the Establishment of Religion clause of the First Amendment by applying only to religious practices and thereby providing heightened protection only to inmates seeking to exercise religious rights as opposed to other constitutional rights. Kilaab Al Ghashiyah v. Department of Corrections of Wisconsin, 250 F. Supp. 2d 1016 (E.D. Wis. 2003). [2003 JB Aug]
Federal court finds that New York prisoner was entitled to preliminary injunction against Department of Corrections policy of putting inmates who refused an annual mandatory tuberculosis test on religious grounds into tuberculin hold for one year. Selah v. Goord, 255 F. Supp. 2d 42 (N.D.N.Y. 2003). [2003 JB Aug]
Prisoner's claim that an officer intentionally deprived him of one issue of a magazine to which he subscribed because the officer disliked the magazine's views, and lied about doing so, was sufficient to state a First Amendment free speech claim. Prisoner did not, however, state a valid claim for violation of his right to religious freedom, since, while the Pagan Revival magazine purported to have a religious theme, he did not claim that the magazine had anything to do with his religious practices or that his failure to receive it interfered with the exercise of his religion. Lindell v. Doe, #01-2527, 58 Fed. Appx. 638 (7th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Jail officials had an objectively reasonable belief that they were not violating a Muslim prisoner's religious freedom rights by denying him a vegetarian diet and were therefore entitled to qualified immunity from liability for doing so. Kind v. Frank, No. 02-1969, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 10754 (8th Cir.). [2003 JB Jul]
Correctional rule prohibiting the smoking of tobacco did not violate Native American prisoner's right to practice his religion despite his belief that the smoke carries his prayers and would purify his body and spirit. There was an overriding compelling interest in eliminating tobacco in prisons, related to promoting health, reducing litigation, reducing medical costs, and maintaining internal security. Roles v. Townsend, No. 28073, 64 P.3d 338 (Idaho App. 2003). [2003 JB Jun]
Federal prison did not violate the rights of a Jewish inmate by requiring that he fill out and submit a standard form in order to receive a kosher diet. Prison officials were also entitled to qualified immunity from liability, particularly as they were reasonably relying on a federal regulation governing requests for special religious diets. Resnick v. Adams, No. 01-56710, 317 F.3d 1056 (9th Cir. 2003). [2003 JB May]
Prisoner seeking to practice religious Taoism was not likely to prevail on his claims that he had been denied the opportunity to do so or denied equal opportunities with those provided to prisoners of other religions. Plaintiff prisoner had failed to cooperate with prison officials' attempts to determine what the "essential practices" of his religion were. Adams v. Stanley, 237 F. Supp. 2d 136 (D.N.H. 2003). [2003 JB May]
Revocation of Rastafarian prisoner's supervised release after he failed drug urinalysis tests and admitted smoking marijuana was not violative of his right to freely exercise his religion under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000bb, since the government had a compelling governmental interest in preventing drug abuse. Additionally, demanding that a convicted felon on parole abstain from marijuana use is a legitimately restrictive means for safeguarding this interest. Accordingly, even under the most restrictive test, the prisoner had no claim for violation of his rights. United States of America v. Israel, No. 02-1864, 317 F.3d 768 (7th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Prison chaplain was not entitled to qualified immunity from liability for a civil rights violation for allegedly intentionally interfering with an Orthodox Chassidic Jewish prisoner's request to celebrate the religious holiday of Sukkot by being allowed to eat his meals under a religious canopy or booth known as a Sukka. The chaplain allegedly intentionally ignored Kansas Department of Corrections manuals and other information describing Sukkot requirements, suggesting that the Jewish prisoners could adequately meet the religious observance by wearing a napkin on their head, and is alleged to have been motivated by personal animus against Jewish prisoners. Wares v. VanBebber, 231 F. Supp. 2d 1120 (D. Kan. 2002). [N/R]
Federal appeals court rejects correctional officials' multiple constitutional attacks on federal statute establishing restrictive test for the imposition of burdens on prisoner religious practices, holding that Congress did not exceed its powers under the spending clause of the Constitution, or violate the establishment of religion clause of the First Amendment, the rights of the states under the Tenth Amendment, the immunity of the states under the Eleventh Amendment, or the doctrine of separation of powers. Mayweathers v. Newland, #0-16505, 314 F.3d 1062 (9th Cir. 2002). [2003 JB Apr]
Prison officials were not shown to have any knowledge that a non-prisoner was a Nation of Islam prisoner's spiritual advisor, entitling them to qualified immunity over the claim that they violated federal civil rights by preventing him and the prisoner from communicating. Proctor v. Toney, #02-2788, 53 Fed. Appx. 793 (8th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Muslim prisoner's exclusion for two months from group religious services did not violate his First Amendment rights when the prisoner and chaplain had a disagreement about religious doctrines and the only other alternative to his exclusion would have been providing more security to ensure order at services. Plaintiff prisoner had alternative means of exercising his religious beliefs during the period in question, including individual prayer and study of religious literature. Allah v. Al-Hafeez, 208 F. Supp. 2d 520 (E.D.Pa. 2002). [N/R]
Federal trial court rules that Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 is unconstitutional as an "establishment of religion" in case where "Hebrew Israelite" religious believer asked for kosher food diet. Madison v. Riter, 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 1094 (W.D. Va.). [2003 JB Mar.]
Prison's denial, to high security Native American prisoner, of access to a "sweat lodge" did not violate his right to freely practice his religion, as denial was justified by legitimate security concerns. Gonzalez v. Litscher, 230 F. Supp. 2d 950 (W.D. Wis. 2002). [2003 JB Mar.]
Native American prisoner's claims that his First Amendment religious rights and his due process rights were violated when his religious property, including fur and feathers, were destroyed by the "unauthorized act" of a prison employee were properly dismissed as frivolous. Due process claim regarding his property was barred because there was an adequate post-deprivation remedy for the loss of the property under Indiana state law. His religious freedom claim was barred because he did not allege that the confiscation of the property restricted his exercise of his religious beliefs or that the prison employee acted because of the religious nature of the items or to discriminate against his Native American religion. O'Banion v. Anderson, #01-4201, 50 Fed. Appx. 775 (7th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Prisoner could not pursue her claim that her retention in "TB hold" segregated housing, due to her refusal to submit to a tuberculosis test and prison's refusal to give her a requested vegetarian diet violated her right to religious freedom under the First Amendment. Both these claims could have been made in a prior civil rights lawsuit involving the same facts and same parties, but she did not raise them. Plaintiff, who had filed five "essentially similar" suits challenging these actions was enjoined from filing further lawsuits without prior court approval. Word v. Croce, 230 F. Supp. 2d 504 (S.D.N.Y. 2002). [N/R]
Massachusetts intermediate appeals court rules that prison must allow Muslim prisoners to wear kufi religious caps, even if housed in disciplinary housing units. Abdul-Alazim v. Superintendent, No. 99P-1302, 778 N.E.2d 946 (Mass. App. 2002). [2003 JB Feb.]
Rastafarian prisoner's equal protection challenge against California prison hair length regulation should not have been dismissed for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies when defendant prison officials failed to establish such a failure to exhaust. Federal appeals court rules that failure to exhaust is a defense, with the burden on the defendants to establish it. Wyatt v. Terhune, #00-16568, 305 F.3d 1033 (9th Cir. 2002). [2003 JB Feb.]
Prison regulation prohibiting the possession of reading materials encouraging violence, hatred, or vengeance against other persons did not violate free speech rights of prisoners practicing "Christian Identity" white supremacist religion, but appeals court orders further proceedings on adequacy of due process surrounding censorship system. Prisoners' rights to special foods and communion packet to celebrate Passover holiday depended on the sincerity of their beliefs, not whether the observation of that holiday was a "major" tenet of their religion. Ind v. Wright, #01-1338, 44 Fed. Appx. 917 (10th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Dec]
Trial court's interim order requiring prison officials to make weekly deposits of $15 in Jewish prisoner's inmate account to allow him to buy kosher foods from the commissary at cost was not violative of the Eleventh Amendment since it addressed the ongoing alleged violation of denial of a religious diet, rather than representing an award of damages for past injuries. Love v. McCown, #02-1155, 38 Fed. Appx. 355 (8th Cir. 2002) [2002 JB Nov]
Policy under which Muslim splinter group was designated as a Security Threat Group (STG) subject to special security measures, including the transfer of core group members to a special unit where they must participate in a behavior modification program did not violate prisoners' constitutional rights to free exercise of their religion, their right to equal protection, or deprive them of a protected liberty interest. Fraise v. Terhune, #00-5062, 283 F.3d 506 (3rd Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Oct]
Prison officials' designation of Saturday as cell cleanup day violated a Jewish inmate's First Amendment right to practice his religion, and no rational connection existed between the policy of designating Saturday-only cell-cleaning and the prison's interest in efficiency, safety, and security. Prison officials were, nevertheless, entitled to qualified immunity from liability as there was, at the time of the violation, prior to 1999, "virtually no guidance" in case law regarding the observance of the Jewish Sabbath in the context of prison work. Murphy v. Carroll, 202 F. Supp. 2d 421 (D. Md. 2002). [N/R]
Prisoner's complaint that failure of prison officials to provide him with a kosher food diet violated his right to exercise his religion should be dismissed without prejudice because of his failure to exhaust available administrative remedies provided under Tennessee state law. Watler v. Campbell, #01-5646, 33 Fed. Appx. 764 (6th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Federal Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) action of housing federal prisoners who were Rastafarians or Muslims in Virginia state facilities with a grooming policy prohibiting long hair and beards violated the prisoners' rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Court orders BOP to transfer such prisoners to other facilities. Gartrell v. Ashcroft, 191 F. Supp. 2d 23 (D.D.C. 2002). [2002 JB Aug]
Claim that prisoner was punished for fasting for religious reasons by being placed "in the hole" was sufficient to state a claim for violation of his First Amendment right to practice his religion. Lomholt v. Holder, #02-1427, 287 F.3d 683 (8th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Self-professed Wiccan witch was not entitled to injunctive relief on his claim that prison chaplain and librarian failed to deliver to him his religious mail concerning his continuing education in the field of "metaphysical theology." Benham v. Priest, #01-2360, 34 Fed. Appx. 465 (6th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Orthodox Jewish inmates in Colorado correctional facilities were entitled to be supplied kosher meals free of charge. Suggested 25% co-payment requirement was an impermissible burden on the exercise of religion. Beerheide v. Suthers, #00-1086, 286 F.3d 1179 (10th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Jul]
Prison's refusal to accommodate an inmate's request for a special religious diet did not violate the First Amendment when the prisoner was provided with an adequate diet to maintain good health even if the items which violated his religious dietary restrictions were not eaten. The First Amendment requires that prison officials provide an inmate with food that is adequate without violating his religious dietary restrictions. Alexander v. Carrick, #00-1261, 31 Fed. Appx. 176 (6th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Rastafarian prisoner's claim that prison's denial of his request to wear dreadlocks violated his right to religious freedom and constituted sex discrimination was improperly dismissed by trial court without fair notice and opportunity to be heard being provided to prisoner, who was acting as his own lawyer. Appeals court also rules that exhaustion of remedies provision of Prison Litigation Reform Act is an affirmative defense, rather than a pleading requirement, with the burden on the defendants to show non-exhaustion. Wyatt v. Terhune, #00-16568, 280 F.3d 1238 (9th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Jun]
Disposing of a prisoner's medical blood samples in a manner inconsistent with his Jehovah's Witness religious beliefs--by failing to pour it on the ground and cover it with dust--did not violate his right to freely exercise his religion. Schreiber v. Ault, #01-1760, 280 F.3d 891 (8th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Jun]
State prison's denial of request of Shi'ite Muslims for separate group religious services from Sunni Muslims was not facially violative of their First Amendment rights. Shi'ite prisoner's rights may have been violated by use of joint services by a chaplain hostile to their sect to disparage their beliefs, but state correctional authorities enactment of new protocol prohibiting such disparagement addressed the problem. Pugh v. Goord, 184 F. Supp. 2d 326 (S.D.N.Y. 2002). [2002 JB Jun]
Appeals court orders reconsideration of whether federal prisons violate the constitutional rights of Catholic prisoners through a rule denying them the use of wine in taking communion. Levitan v. Ashcroft, No. 00-5346, 281 F.3d 1313 (D.C. Cir. 2002). [2002 JB May]
"Liberal Catholic Church" member stated possible claim for violation of the right to equal protection based on allegation that prison chaplain required him to recertify his religious request for a vegetarian diet more frequently than African-American prisoners with similar requests were required to. Caldwell v. Caesar, 150 F. Supp. 2d 50 (D.C. 2001). [2002 JB May]
A provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3626(a)(2) , under which a grant of preliminary injunctive relief automatically expires after 90 days did not bar the renewal of the court's injunction forbidding prison administrators from imposing discipline on Muslim inmates who missed work assignments to attend Friday Sabbath services. The provision does not limit the number of times that a court can renew the preliminary injunctive relief, but simply imposes a burden on the plaintiffs to "continue to prove that preliminary relief is warranted." Mayweathers v. Newland, No. 00-16708, 258 F.3d 930 (9th Cir. 2001). [N/R]
Year-long delay in building a sweat lodge to allow Native American inmates to practice their religion at a newly opened prison violated their First Amendment free exercise rights, but did not violate their right to equal protection. Court rules, however, that prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity from liability for money damages for the First Amendment claim as the law on the subject was not previously clearly established. Youngbear v. Thalacker, 174 F. Supp. 2d 902 (N.D. Iowa 2001). [2002 JB Mar]
299:174 Muslim prisoner could pursue claim that his equal protection rights were violated by prison allowing inmates with certain medical conditions to wear three-quarter-inch beards while denying his request to wear a one-quarter-inch beard for religious purposes. Taylor v. Johnson, #00-21155, 257 F.2d 470 (5th Cir. 2001).
299:165 Federal prison rule banning possession of electronic instruments did not violate prisoners' First Amendment rights, but court orders further proceedings on claim that the Bureau of Prisons improperly allowed a "religious-use" exception to the rule, discriminating in favor of religion. Kimberlin v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 150 F. Supp. 2d 36 (D.D.C. 2001).
299:163 Award of $10 in damages to prisoner for violation of his religious right to receive a pork-free diet could be set off against his liability to the county for costs arising out of the same lawsuit; federal court does not reach restitution issue. Rinaldo v. Corbett, No. 99-10801, 256 F.3d 1276 (11th Cir. 2001).
298:157 Brief isolation of prisoner who objected, on religious grounds, to providing a blood sample for intake screening did not violate his rights; further proceedings to determine, however, whether conditions in isolation were more severe than required to serve legitimate interest in insuring other prisoners' health and safety. Davis v. City of New York, 142 F. Supp. 2d 461 (S.D.N.Y. 2001).
297:139 Prisoner who was barred, by Prison Litigation Reform Act, from receiving compensatory damages for mental distress from failure to receive kosher diet could still be awarded punitive damages by a jury; appeals court orders new trial on punitive damages alone. Searles v. Van Bebber, No. 99-3076, 251 F.3d 869 (10th Cir. 2001).
297:136 Provision of Prison Litigation Reform Act barring claims for emotional distress unaccompanied by physical injury did not bar Muslim prisoner's lawsuit for violation of his right to practice his religion. Shaheed- Muhammad v. Dipaolo, 138 F. Supp. 2d 99 (D. Mass. 2001).
297:131 Corrections officers subject to discipline for "inattentiveness" during training on "gays and lesbians" in the workplace were improperly punished for silently reading bibles, when other officers, inattentive or reading non-religious materials, were not similarly punished. Altman v. Minn. Dept. of Corrections, #00-1168 and 00-1489, 251 F.3d 1199 (8th Cir. 2001).
296:123 Texas Supreme Court rules that religious instruction housing unit at county jail, popularly called the "God Pod," was an unconstitutional establishment of religion since it constituted a government endorsement of a particular religious view. Williams v. Huff, No. 99-0273, 52 S.W.3d 171 (Tex. 2001).
295:99 Correctional facility had to either make a good faith effort to accommodate an officer, who was also a minister, in his request for unpaid leave to attend religious conferences, or else show that doing so would create an undue hardship; racial harassment claim was also asserted by officer. Jones v. New York City Dept. of Correction, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2669 (S.D.N.Y.).
294:93 Federal appeals court rules that Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) still applies to federal prisons; further proceedings ordered on Buddhist prisoner's request to receive pastoral visits from Methodist minister; new federal statute redefines protected "exercise of religion" to include "any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief." Kikumura v. Hurley, #99-1284, 242 F.3d 950 (10th Cir. 2001).
293:75 Officer was protected by qualified immunity from liability for bringing disciplinary proceeding against a Moslem inmate in retaliation for his wearing "kufi" religious headgear, since a reasonable officer could have concluded that contraband could be concealed under the kufi. Nicholas v. Tucker, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2323 (S.D.N.Y.).
293:75 Denial of prisoner's request for Native American religious items on the basis that he is Caucasian rather than Native American violated his right to equal protection of the law; prison officials could not use race as the basis to deny a request for articles sincerely sought for reasons of religious belief and practice. Morrison v. Garraghty, No. 00-6540, 239 F.3d 648 (4th Cir. 2001).
292:60 Prisoner's claim for compensation for alleged violation of his religious rights was barred without a physical injury, but he could still seek both nominal and punitive damages. Allah v. Al-Hafeez, No. 98-1385, 226 F.3d 247 (3rd Cir. 2000).
291:44 New York correctional officials should not have denied Shi'a Islam's grievance requesting separate religious services on the basis of advice from a Sunni Islam clergyman. Cancel v. Goord, 717 N.Y.S.2d 610 (A.D. 2000).
291:37 Prisoner's claim that housing him with an inmate of another race violated his right to exercise his religion was properly dismissed as frivolous. Thompson v. Texas Dept. of Crim. Just., #01-98-01215-CV, 33 S.W.2d 412 (Tex. App. 2000).
290:26 Requirement that Muslim prisoner be clean shaven, and not allowing him even a 1/4 inch beard, was not a violation of his rights, despite allowance of 3/4 inch beards for inmates with medical conditions aggravated by shaving. Green v. Polunsky, No. 00-40156, 229 F.3d 486 (5th Cir. 2000).
EDITOR'S NOTE: Other federal appeals courts considering the issue of short beards have upheld prison grooming policies. See Hines v. South Darolina Dept. of Corrections, 148 F.3d 353 (4th Cir. 1998); Harris v. Chapman, 97 F.3d 499 (11th Cir. 1996); and Friedman v. Arizona, 912 F.2d 328 (9th Cir. 1990).
It should also be noted that the above decision, while dated Oct. 18, 2000, almost a month after the enactment of the new federal "Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act," Public Law 106-274 (Sep. 22, 2000), see Jail & Prisoner Law Bulletin No. 287, p. 173 (Nov. 2000), does not apply the legal test stated in that statute, requiring that an action that imposes a substantial burden on religious practices or beliefs must be justified as in furtherance of a "compelling governmental interest" and used the "least restrictive means" of furthering that interest.
291:45 Prison's refusal to accommodate prisoner's request for food in his cell on Saturday so that he could follow his belief that he should not leave his cell or prepare food on Sunday, his Sabbath, was not justified by concerns about cell cleanliness and violated his First Amendment rights. Love v. Reed, #99-3149, 216 F.3d 682 (8th Cir. 2000).
294:93 Virginia prison policy mandating short hair, which had no exception for religious objections, upheld by federal court as "neutral" policy with only "incidental" impact on religious practices; court rejects claim that different hair length standards for male and female prisoners violates equal protection. DeBlasio v. Johnson, 128 F. Supp. 2d 315 (E.D. Va. 2000).
290:25 Federal trial judge rules that employees of a private company hired to run a detention facility operated by a private company created by a city could not be sued for alleged violations of federal pre-trial detainee's right to religious freedom in seeking diet free from meat and meat products. Lawson v. Liburdi, 114 F. Supp. 2d 31 (D.R.I. 2000).
289:12 Florida prison's initial refusal to put death row prisoner's legally adopted religious name on his identification card together with the name under which he had been imprisoned violated his right to exercise his
religion. Hakim v. Hicks, No. 98-3062, 99-12050, 223 F.3d 1244 (11th Cir. 2000).
287:173 New federal legislation reimposes a tough test for justifying prison rules that impose substantial burdens on prisoner religious freedom rights; prison officials must now demonstrate a compelling governmental interest in the policy or regulation and also show that the "least restrictive" means available to further that interest were utilized. "Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act," Public Law 106-274 (Sep. 22, 2000).
287:174 Prison Litigation Reform Act barred prisoners from attempting to recover damages for mental or emotional injury alleged caused by policies they said imposed stress on Muslim prisoners, in the absence of a showing of physical injury. Craig v. Cohn, 80 F. Supp. 2d 944 (N.D. Ind. 2000).
284:118 Native American correctional officer should be allowed to wear his hair long (but pinned under his cap) to accommodate his religion, Ohio Supreme Court holds. Humphrey v. Lane, #99-206, 728 N.E.2d 1039 (Ohio 2000).
286:158 Denial of privileges to prisoner serving a sentence for sexual exploitation of a child, following his refusal to participate in a sexual abuse treatment program, did not violate his rights; court finds no violation of the privilege against self-incrimination, no violation of the prisoner's First Amendment or religious freedom rights, and no problem with the use of a "penile plethysmograph" to measure his sexual responses to various images, when participation in the treatment program was voluntary. Searcy v. Simmons, 97 F. Supp. 2d 1055 (D. Kan. 2000).
286:157 "Nation of Islam" members in New York state prison were not entitled to a kosher diet, even though it was being supplied to Jewish prisoners, when a pork-free "Religious Alternative Menu" provided to them was adequate to meet their nutritional and religious requirements; prison did not violate their rights by refusing to hire one of them as an inmate clerk to handle "Nation of Islam" affairs in the facility. Muhammad v. Warithu-Deen Umar, 98 F. Supp. 2d 337 (W.D.N.Y. 2000).
281:75 Orthodox Jewish prisoners who were sincere in their religious beliefs were entitled to receive a
kosher diet; proposed policy under which they would be required to make a co-payment of 25% of the cost was an unreasonable burden on their exercise of their religion. Beerheide v. Suthers, 82 F. Supp. 2d 1190 (D. Colo. 2000).
282:83 Prisoner's conduct in pursuing frivolous legal claims was not protected conduct for which he could pursue retaliation claim in the absence of retaliatory conduct which "shocked the conscience"; prisoner could, however, pursue claim that he was retaliated against for assisting another prisoner in asserting his complaints if that assistance was necessary to enable other prisoner to do so. Herron v. Harrison, No. 98-5726, 203 F.3d 410 (6th Cir. 2000).
282:92 Refusal to allow Roman Catholic prisoner to possess multi-colored rosary beads did not infringe on his right to practice his religion when prison offered him a set of all-black rosary beads, and multi-colored beads were prohibited because of the possibility that they would be used to display gang-affiliation "colors." Kane v. Muir, #SJC- 08119, 725 N.E.2d 232 (Mass. 2000).
283:108 Native American prisoner stated a claim for retaliatory transfer; lawsuit claimed that he was transferred to another facility because of his practice of his Native American religion and his free speech activities in complaining about restrictions on religious practice in the prison. Rouse v. Benson, #98-2707, 193 F.3d 936 (8th Cir. 1999).
279:42 Prison rule prohibiting religious services in unauthorized areas did not provide Muslim prisoner with adequate notice that his conduct of silent, individual, demonstrative prayer in recreation yard would be a violation of the rule for which he could be disciplined; Attorneys' fee cap of Prison Litigation Reform Act applied despite the fact that the lawsuit was filed before the statute's enactment; $73,694.36 in fees and costs awarded. Chatin v. Coombe, Nos. 98-2484, 98-2556, 186 F.3d 82 (2nd Cir. 1999).
280:57 Prisoner who declared that he was Jewish could not be properly denied kosher food on the basis that prison Jewish chaplain did not recognize him as Jewish; the proper legal issue was whether his religious beliefs were sincerely held. Jackson v. Mann, No. 97-2968, 196 F.3d 316 (2nd Cir. 1999).
277:9 Prison's policy of not fully applying modified meal delivery schedule for Muslim prisoners during Ramadan religious holiday to prisoners in segregation imposed impermissible burden on religious freedom when court found no legitimate security or budgetary interest supported the difference; further proceedings ordered, however, on trial court's award of $9,000 in damages. Makin v. Colorado Dept. of Corrections, #98-1272, 183 F.3d 1205 (10th Cir. 1999).
277:10 Rastafarian prisoner's claim that prison requirement that he cut his hair violated his religious rights was not "frivolous" when there was, as of now, no evidence in the record concerning any security concerns which justified the requirement. Cofer v. Schriro, #99-1852, 176 F.3d 1082 (8th Cir. 1999).
EDITOR'S NOTE: See also Williams v. Norris, No. 99-1743, 176 F.3d 1089 (8th Cir. 1999). (Rastafarian prisoner's lawsuit against prison rule prohibiting him from wearing his hair in "dreadlocks" was improperly dismissed because prisoner complied with Prison Litigation Reform Act's "exhaustion of administrative remedies" requirement, since his grievance had been denied by the Warden and the Assistant Director of the state Department of Corrections at the time the court acted).
278:25 Exhaustion of remedies requirement of Prison Litigation Reform Act did not apply retroactively to bar lawsuit already pending; federal appeals court reinstates prisoner's lawsuit complaining that officials prevented him from meeting with prison chaplain. Salahuddin v. Mead, #97-2522, 174 F.3d 271 (2nd Cir. 1999).
268:58 Sheriff was not entitled to summary judgment on claim that establishment of a segregated jail unit to teach fundamentalist Christian principles constituted an unconstitutional "establishment of religion." Lara v. Williams, 986 S.W.2d 310 (Tex. App. 1999).
269:76 Prison officials' instructions to Muslim correctional officer, asking that he refrain from greeting Muslim inmates in Arabic, was not religious discrimination, but rather was based on legitimate concerns about fraternization with prisoners and the possible perception of special treatment of Muslim prisoners. Hafford v. Seidner, #97-4240, 167 F.3d 1074 (6th Cir. 1999).
270:93 Allegation that male prisoner was subjected to repeated strip and body cavity searches by female officer under non-emergency conditions while male officers were available to conduct the search, and that purpose of searches was solely to "harass" and intimidate him stated non- frivolous claim for Fourth Amendment violation. Moore v. Carwell, #97-40840, 168 F.3d 234 (5th Cir. 1999).
272:122 Requiring atheist probationer to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings as a condition of probation violated his First Amendment rights, but award of $1 in nominal damages was proper, since county probation officials would not have had reason to believe, at the time, that this was a violation of his rights. Warner v. Orange Co. Dept. of Probation, #95-7055, 173 F.3d 120 (2nd Cir. 1999).
272:123 Federal appeals court rejects constitutional claims of Zen Buddhist prisoner; requirement of five members of the same religion before allowing group worship was not improper, nor was denial of vegan diet not required by the religion or of the right to possess and store religious items prisoner did not show were necessary for the practice of his religion. Spies v. Voinovich, #97-4175, 173 F.3d 398 (6th Cir. 1999).
273:134 Prison rule banning receipt of mail which advocated racial or religious hatred in a manner which created a serious danger of violence did not violate the religious freedom rights of a prisoner who was denied access to Aryan Nations materials. Chriceol v. Phillips, #98-30380, 169 F.3d 313 (5th Cir. 1999).
273:141 Prison's requirement that an outside religious volunteer be present before daily group Ramadan prayer services would be permitted was reasonable given scarce prison resources, and security concerns about supervision of maximum security prisoners; requirement did not violate Muslim prisoner's right to religious freedom. Muhammad v. Klotz, 36 F.Supp.2d 240 (E.D. Pa. 1999).
275:172 Prison officials denied summary judgment in lawsuit by Muslim prisoner without canteen privileges requesting that his regular meals be replaced, on fast days, with food that he could store and eat before and after the times when his religion required him not to eat; defendants amply justified refusal of canteen privileges, but plaintiff inmate was not seeking any change regarding canteen purchases. Denson v. Marshall, 44 F.Supp.2d 400 (D. Mass. 1999). 265:6 Federal appeals court upholds statute requiring prisoner to give DNA sample for creation of a DNA Offender Database; rejects unreasonable search and seizure, self-incrimination, religious freedom and impermissible retroactive application arguments. Shaffer v. Saffle, #97-7107, 148 F.3d 1180 (10th Cir. 1998).
265:11 Buddhist prisoner had no clearly established right to receive strict vegetarian diet devoid of all animal and dairy products and byproducts or to be exempt from wearing leather shoes while being transported or in court. Dehart v. Lehman, 9 F.Supp.2d 539 (E.D. Pa. 1998).
265:11 Jewish prisoners were entitled to kosher diet, but not necessarily to hot kosher meals, federal appeals court rules; providing hot pork substitutes to Muslim prisoners while serving Jewish prisoners cold kosher meals did not violate equal protection. Johnson v. Horn, #97-3581 & 97-3582, 150 F.3d 276 (3rd Cir. 1998).
» Editor's Note: Two federal appeals courts have previously recognized the right of a Jewish inmate to receive a kosher diet: Kahey v. Jones, 836 F.2d 948 (5th Cir. 1988), and Ward v. Walsh, 1 F.3d 873 (9th Cir. 1993). As the court above noted, however, the right, as recognized in Ward was not a "per se entitlement," with the Ward court ordering proceedings to determine whether the prison's legitimate interests justified denial of kosher meals.
266:19 Prisoner was not entitled to a kosher diet when there was no evidence that he was Jewish, and was also not entitled to a vegetarian diet; prior order by doctor that he be provided with vegetarian diet was merely because prisoner refused to eat otherwise, and was not medically required. Ramsey v. Coughlin, 1 F.Supp.2d 198 (W.D.N.Y. 1998).
266:25 Prohibition on Muslim prisoners' "group demonstrative prayer" in prison recreation yard was rationally related to legitimate security interests. Sledge v. Cummings, 995 F.Supp.2d 1276 (D. Kan. 1998).
268:59 Officer liable for $2,000 in compensatory damages and $5,000 in punitive damages for shoving Muslim prisoner to prevent him from engaging in quiet evening prayers during "quiet time"; prison rule did not prohibit quiet prayer that did not disturb others. Arroyo Lopez v. Nuttall, 25 F.Supp.2d 407 (S.D.N.Y. 1998).
273:142 Requirement that prisoner attend a substance abuse program utilizing religion was a violation of the Establishment of Religion clause of the First Amendment; prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity, however, since unconstitutionality of such a program had not previously been clearly established. Ross v. Keelings, 2 F.Supp.2d 810 (E.D. Va. 1998).
» Editor's Note: Two federal appeals courts have similarly ruled that coerced attendance at Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings that emphasized religion violated the Establishment Clause. Warner v. Orange Co. Dep't of Probation, 115 F.3d 1068 (2nd Cir. 1996); Kerr v. Farrey, 95 F.3d 472 (7th Cir. 1996).
274:156 Mandatory administration of TB test did not violate prisoner's right to religious freedom, despite her claim that the Bible prohibited the "injection of artificial substances" into her body; prison's legitimate interest in controlling infectious disease justified forcible administration of test. Hasenmeier-McCarthy v. Rose, 986 F.Supp. 464 (S.D. Ohio 1998).
263:171 Legitimate prison interest in preventing the spread of tuberculosis justified requirement that prisoner either submit to TB skin test, despite religious objection, or else be subjected to administrative segregation for a one year period. Africa v. Horn, 998 F.Supp. 557 (E.D. Pa. 1998).
260:125 Federal appeals court overturns trial court's injunctive order requiring prison officials to provide religiously mandated vegetarian, non-dairy diet containing no grape products to prisoner who claimed to be a "Nazarite Disciple" of Jesus Christ Messiah and then asserted that he was a Rastafarian; trial judge improperly failed to allow defendants to respond to prisoner's assertion of Rastafarian faith and failed to make findings required for injunctive relief under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Oluwa v. Gomez, 133 F.3d 1237 (8th Cir. 1998).
259:107 Correctional officer's Christian proselytizing activities did not violate the Free Exercise or Establishment of Religion Clauses of the First Amendment; Muslim prisoner's right to practice his religion was not substantially burdened; federal appeals court also rules that First Amendment claims are not impacted by provision of Prison Litigation Reform Act barring claims for mental and emotional injury without physical injury. Canell v. Lightner, 1998 U.S. App. Lexis 9281 (9th Cir.).
254:25 Prisoner who failed to comply with institutional rule that he register as a member of a particular religious sect could not pursue claim that he was denied permission to wear religiously prescribed garments to his father's funeral. Jackson- Bey v. Hanslmaier, 115 F.3d 1091 (2nd Cir. 1997).
254:26 Deputy warden and mail clerk liable for $1 in nominal damages and $500 in punitive damages each for enforcing blanket ban on Church of Jesus Christ Christian (CJCC) publications; denial came after prior court cases ruling a blanket ban, without review of individual publications, impermissible. Williams v. Brimeyer, 116 F.3d 351 (8th Cir. 1997).
255:43 Prison's failure to provide "separatist fundamentalist" religious leader to prisoner, to allow him to take Bible to prison yard, to attend services on Sunday instead of Friday while in protective custody, or to possess more than 25 religious books in his cell at a time did not "substantially burden" prisoner's right to religious freedom. Weir v. Nix, 114 F.3d 817 (8th Cir. 1997).
255:44 Prisoner did not show that officers "conspired" against him because he is "Muslim, black, and a 'litigator'" when none of them made disparaging comments about his religion or race, and he had not previously filed any lawsuits or grievances against them. Hameed v. Pundt, 964 F.Supp. 836 (S.D.N.Y. 1997).
256:57 Nevada prison policy prohibiting inmates from leading religious groups did not violate prisoner's rights. Anderson v. Angelone, 123 F.3d 1197 (9th Cir. 1997).
256:57 Protestant prison chaplain did not act "under color of state law" when he excommunicated for a year prisoner who was an adherent of "Messianic Judaism"; exclusion from services was a "purely ecclesiastical" action, for which there could be no liability under federal civil rights law. Montano v. Hedgepeth, 120 F.3d 844 (8th Cir. 1997).
258:91 Correctional policy which restricted practice of Native American Religion to prisoners who had a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) number or could prove that they were "ethnically Native American" violated the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. Combs v. Corrections Corp. of America, 977 F.Supp. 799 (W.D.La. 1997).
259:101 Prison officials did not violate Muslim prisoner's free speech or religious freedom rights by denying him receipt of entire issues of "Muhammad Speaks" magazine which were determined to create a danger of violence "by advocating racial, religious, or national hatred"; prisoner's suggestion that offending articles instead be cut out was not reasonable alternative in light of cost to implement. Shabazz v. Parsons, 127 F.3d 1246 (10th Cir. 1997).
259:108 Determination as to whether a prisoner was Jewish was a matter for Jewish religious advisor at correctional facility, not for a court; but prisoner had a right, under New York state law, to participate in any religious observances she preferred, unless she was disruptive, or religious doctrine barred the participation of non-members of the faith. Thomas v. Lord, 664 N.Y.S.2d 973 (Sup. 1997).
263:170 Muslim prisoner's claims that Christian group received preferential treatment was not borne out by facts; court also rules that Christian chaplain, who was not employed by the prison, was not a "state actor" who could be sued under federal civil rights law. McGlothlin v. Murray, 993 F.Supp. 389 (W.D. Va. 1997).
[N/R] Prison officials did not violate Muslim prisoners right to equal protection by requiring them to sign an attendance sheet at services or by failing to give them 10-15 minutes notice prior to services. Freeman v. Arpaio, 125 F.3d 732 (9th Cir. 1997).
[N/R] Provision of Prison Litigation Reform Act allowing court to dismiss lawsuit by prisoner determined to be frivolous or malicious applies to cases pending prior to statute's passage; prisoner's claim that correctional officials "smashed" his property and legal work in retaliation for his writing of a letter complaining about the lack of "black culture" churches in prison state valid First Amendment claim. Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483 (11th Cir. 1997).
[N/R] Prohibition on prisoner receiving materials which advocated racial supremacy did not violate his right to religious freedom; regulation was reasonably related to legitimate security concerns. Winburn v. Bologna, 979 F.Supp. 531 (W.D. Mich. 1997).
241:11 Federal appeals court upholds prison's denial of Moorish prisoner's request to hold banquet in honor of the founder of his religion, remands for further proceedings Muslim prisoner's claim that conditions under which Muslims were allowed to celebrate Ramadan violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Mack v. O'Leary, 80 F.3d 1175 (7th Cir. 1996).
241:12 New York court denies prison officials summary judgment on prisoner's claim that they violated his rights by refusing to recognize the Church of Satan as a bona fide religion or to permit him to possess a three inch metal bell with which to perform Satanic rituals. Ramirez v. Coughlin, 919 F.Supp. 617 (N.D.N.Y. 1996).
242:25 While Religious Freedom Restoration Act applied retroactively to pending claims, this did not change the fact that it was not clear, in 1985, that denying a Jewish prisoner a kosher diet would violate his right to exercise his religion, so that prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity for that past denial. Friedman v. South, 92 F.3d 989 (9th Cir. 1996).
242:26 N.Y. high court rules that Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) credo is religious, and that atheist or agnostic inmate could not be punished by losing eligibility for conjugal visit program based on his refusal to participate in substance abuse program at facility which used A.A. 12 steps; such action held to violate First Amendment prohibition on "Establishment of Religion." Griffin v. Coughlin, 88 N.Y.2d 674, 673 N.E.2d 98, 649 N.Y.S.2d 903, 1996 N.Y. Lexis 1522.
243:35 U.S. Supreme Court to review issue of whether Congress had constitutional authority to pass Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Flores v. City of Boerne, Tex., 73 F.3d 1352 (5th Cir.), cert. granted, sub. nom., Boerne, City of, v. Flores, 117 S.Ct. 293 (1996).
244:57 Requiring prisoner to attend "Narcotics Anonymous" substance abuse program or suffer possible classification to higher security risk violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment since program was religiously-based, with references to God or a "higher power," federal appeals court rules. Kerr v. Farrey, 95 F.3d 472 (7th Cir. 1996). » Editor's Note: Also see Warner v. Orange Co. Dept. of Probation, 95 F.3d 202 (2nd Cir. 1996) (establishment clause was violated when the only option available to a convicted motorist for required rehabilitation was the program run by AA). In O'Connor v. California, 855 F.Supp. 303 (C.D. Cal. 1994), however, the court ruled that there was no violation in making an AA program one of a variety of options available to satisfy the conditions of probation.
244:58 Prison officials could deny "Neo-Nazi skinhead" white prisoner's request that he be housed only with prisoners of his own race even if such denial did substantially burden a sincerely held religious belief; denial was justified on the basis of prison security and the public policy against racial segregation. Ochs v. Thalacker, 90 F.3d 293 (8th Cir. 1996).
244:59 Officer's brief squeezing of inmate's testicles during pat search following end of prison kitchen work shift was not an unreasonable search, cruel and unusual punishment, or a violation of the inmate's religious rights as a Muslim. Hill v. Blum, 916 F.Supp. 470 (E.D. Pa. 1996). 245:76 Prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity from claim that having female guards present during strip search of male Muslim prisoner, and other incidents in which female guards observed male prisoner naked, violated First Amendment right to religious freedom. Canedy v. Boardman, 91 F.3d 30 (7th Cir. 1996).
246:90 Florida rule allowing prison officials to delete objectionable portions of religious literature that would pose a threat to prison security, while allowing in the remainder of the text, did not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or the First Amendment. Lawson v. Singletary, 85 F.3d 502 (11th Cir. 1996).
246:91 Jewish prisoner could not challenge his transfer to another facility based on his dissatisfaction with the quality of the kosher food diet at the receiving facility. Prins v. Coughlin, 76 F.3d 504 (2nd Cir. 1996).
247:107 Satanist prisoner could legitimately be denied receipt and possession of The Satanic Bible based on review of the book and determination that it was inflammatory and could create safety and security problems. Carpenter v. Wilkinson, 946 F.Supp. 522 (N.D. Ohio 1996).
248:124 Trial court erred in ruling that Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply when prisoners did not cite it in their complaint; federal appeals court orders further proceedings on Sunni Muslim prisoners' claim that prison violated their right to religious freedom by holding only one Muslim worship service for five Muslim sects whose doctrines allegedly differed. Small v. Lehman, 98 F.3d 762 (3rd Cir. 1996).
248:125 Jehovah's Witnesses prisoners had to be allowed to meet on the same terms as Muslim prisoners, including meetings of fewer than fifteen people and meetings without an outside religious leader when none was available; federal court notes that each religion must be treated alike when similarly situated; plaintiff prisoner awarded right to not work for ten days and be credited for good time as though he had, as compensation for problems with religious meetings. Hyde v. Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, 948 F.Supp. 625 (S.D. Tex. 1996).
249:140 Prison officials did not violate prisoner's right to religious freedom or free speech in withholding "Christian Identity" book that advocated violence against Jews and government; prisoner's religion did not require him to read book, so withholding it did not substantially burden his religious freedom, and decision to withhold it was reasonably related to prison security concerns. Stefanow v. McFadden, 103 F.3d 1466 (9th Cir. 1996).
249:141 Orthodox Jewish prisoner had a right to a kosher diet; prisoner's right to free exercise of religion outweighed prison's concerns about expense and inconvenience. Ashelman v. Wawrzaszek, 111 F.3d 674 (9th Cir. 1997).
250:147 U.S. Supreme Court rules that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority under the Fourteenth Amendment in passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; rules and laws of general applicability, including jail and prison rules and regulations, no longer need to be justified by a compelling state interest or use the least restrictive means when they allegedly impose a substantial burden on the exercise of religion. Boerne, City of, v. Flores, 117 S.Ct. 2157, 1997 U.S. Lexis 4035 (June 25, 1997).
250:154 Federal appeals court reinstates $500 punitive damage award against officer who allegedly hit restrained prisoner in the face and taunted him with racial slurs while he and other officers forced him to comply with prison's haircut rule; haircut rule did not violate religious freedom rights of Rastafarian prisoner. Harris v. Chapman, 97 F.3d 499 (11th Cir. 1996).
251:170 Inmate group's Christmas party in prison visitation room, which included singing of Christmas carols, did not violate First Amendment rights of prisoner receiving visitor who objected to it; party did not constitute an "establishment of religion" when primary purpose was secular and prison officials did not control its content. Torricellas v. Poole, 954 F.Supp. 1405 (C.D. Cal. 1997).
251:171 Prison had adequate reasons for refusing to supply prisoner with a vegetarian diet requested for religious reasons; diet could have led to health problems and storage of more fresh fruit and vegetables would present a security concern that prisoners could use them to produce alcohol/mash; restricting hours of group religious worship was reasonable following inmate disturbances, also for security purposes. Jenkins v. Angelone, 948 F.Supp. 543 (E.D. Va. 1996).
[N/R] Federal trial court orders union to refund dues paid by correctional officer who objected, on religious grounds, to union position on abortion and death penalty; awards plaintiff officer $45,160 in attorneys' fees and costs. E.E.O.C. v. AFSCME C-82, 937 F.Supp. 166 (N.D.N.Y. 1996) and subsequent decision (awarding attorneys' fees), 1996 U.S. Dist. Lexis 17535 (Nov. 12, 1996).
[N/R] Prison rules requiring Native American inmate to cut his hair and which denied him the use of a "sweat lodge" did not violate his right to exercise his religious freedom. Hamilton v. Schriro, 74 F.3d 1545 (8th Cir. 1996).
233:69 Prison officials showed compelling interest in withholding delivery of issues of newspaper inciting racial violence; fact that newspaper was published by a church did not alter result or violate prisoner's rights under Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Reimann v. Murphy, 897 F.Supp. 398 (E.D. Wis. 1995).
229:7 Federal trial court rejects N.Y. correctional department's arguments that requiring Rastafarian correctional officers to cut their modified dreadlocks furthered a compelling governmental interest in security, discipline and esprit de corps. Brown v. Keane, 888 F.Supp. 568 (S.D.N.Y. 1995).
234:84 Update: Roman Catholic inmates who received no money damages and had summary judgment entered against them on claim they were entitled to unfettered/unsupervised use of religious sacramental articles were nevertheless entitled to $128,811.47 in attorneys' fees and costs, plus interest on that amount, because their suit caused prison officials to agree to expanded access to religious services and religious articles. Friend v. Kolodzieczak, 65 F.3d 1514 (9th Cir. 1995). 230:24 Policy requiring Hasidic Jewish prisoner in segregation unit to get short haircut did not violate his right to religious freedom; policy was justified by compelling safety concerns related to quickly identifying prisoners and protection against hidden contraband. Phipps v. Parker, 879 F.Supp. 734 (W.D. Ky. 1995).
230:25 Seizure and loss or destruction of prisoner's Koran, Islamic prayer shawl, and other religious items did not violate his right to exercise his religion; prison had valid regulation allowing only prisoners who designated themselves a member of a religious group to possess such items, and prisoner did not do so.Caffey v. Johnson, 883 F.Supp. 128 (E.D. Tex. 1995). [Cross references: Defenses: Eleventh Amendment.]
230:26 Hindu prisoner's religious freedom was not violated by prison dietician serving Thanksgiving stuffing containing turkey meat. Karmasu v. Hughes, 654 N.E.2d 179 (Ohio App. 1995). [Cross-reference: Diet].
231:43 Two federal courts uphold actions of prison officials in withholding access to literature of "Church of Jesus Christ, Christian," religious arm of the Aryan Nation, a white supremacist group. Van Dyke v. Washington, 896 F.Supp. 183 (C.D. Ill. 1995); George v. Sullivan, 896 F.Supp. 895 (W.D. Wis. 1995). [Cross-references: Defenses: Qualified Immunity; First Amendment].
231:44 Prison did not violate prisoner's rights by providing general "Muslim" religious services rather than separate Moorish services. Crosley-El v. Berge, 896 F.Supp. 885 (E.D. Wis. 1995).
232:60 Requiring Muslim prisoners to "register" before being allowed to attend congregational prayer services on Friday afternoons did not violate Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Woods v. Evatt, 876 F.Supp. 756 (D. S.C. 1995).
232:61 Update: Federal appeals court rules that Muslim inmate who legally changed his name was entitled to use both his religious and committed names on correspondence; prior ruling by court reached same result without reference to Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Malik v. Brown, 65 F.3d 148 (9th Cir. 1995).
233:75 Federal trial court rules that prisoner asserting claim under Religious Freedom Restoration Act must only show that desire for particular practice is motivated by sincere religious belief and substantially burdened by government action, and need not show that practice is compelled or "mandated" by his religion. Muslim v. Frame, 897 F.Supp. 215 (E.D. Pa. 1995). » Editor's Note: A number of other courts have concluded that, under the RFRA, the burden on religion is not substantial unless the religious practice or belief at issue is mandated by the plaintiff's religion. See Werner v. McCotten, 49 F.3d 1476 (10th Cir. 1995); Bryant v. Gomez, 46 F.3d 948 (9th Cir. 1994); Daytona Rescue Mission v. City of Daytona Beach, 885 F.Supp. 1554 (M.D. Fla. 1995); Rust v. Clarke, 883 F.Supp. 1293 (D. Neb. 1995); Alameen v. Coughlin, 892 F.Supp. 440 (E.D.N.Y. 1995); Weir v. Nix, 890 F.Supp. 769 (S.D. Iowa 1995). The above court is in a distinct minority, apparently, in ruling otherwise.
234:92 Rastafarian inmate who refused to submit to mandatory TB testing based on religious objection ordered released from medical keeplock; plaintiff showed likelihood of proving both that such continued confinement violated his rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and violated his 8th Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. Jolly v. Coughlin, 894 F.Supp. 734 (S.D.N.Y. 1995). [Cross-reference: Medical Care].
234:93 Federal appeals court rules that prison's refusal to release Muslim prisoner from work assignment to attend Friday religious services did not violate First Amendment or Religious Freedom Restoration Act; attendance at such services was not an "essential tenet" of his religion and policy did not "substantially burden" his religious freedom. Abdur-Rahman v. Michigan Department of Corrections, 65 F.3d 489 (6th Cir. 1995). [Cross-reference: Work/Education Programs].
235:104 Muslim prisoner had a clearly established right not to handle pork in prison kitchen; kitchen supervisors were not entitled to qualified immunity for ordering prisoner to do so and disciplining him when he refused. Hayes v. Long, 72 F.3d 70 (8th Cir. 1995). [Cross-references: Defenses: Qualified (Good-Faith) Immunity].
236:122 Court finds that refusal to allow religious prisoner a Kosher diet, to allow him to grow a one-inch beard, or to wear a headcovering substantially burdened his rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act when his religious beliefs were sincere; court finds no violation of his right to maintain a vow of poverty. Luckette v. Lewis, 883 F.Supp. 471 (D. Ariz. 1995).
236:123 Prisoner's right to use his legally adopted religious name on outgoing mail together with his committed name was clearly established in 1990, federal appeals court rules, and prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity for allegedly punishing him for doing so; notary, however, was entitled to qualified immunity for refusing to notarize document when signature presented did not match prison identification shown. Malik v. Brown, 71 F.3d 724 (9th Cir. 1995). [Cross-references: Defenses: Qualified (Good-Faith) Immunity; Mail].
237:139 Absolute prohibition on Muslim inmate wearing a beard violated Religious Freedom Restoration Act when inmate sincerely believed his religion required him to do so, even if there was evidence that the Koran did not require this; complete ban on beards was not "least restrictive means" of satisfying security interests, when warden testified that a 1/4" beard would not be a security problem and were already allowed for medical reasons; defendants entitled to qualified immunity from liability, however. Lewis v. Scott, 910 F.Supp. 282 (E.D. Tex. 1995). [Cross-reference: Defenses: Qualified (Good-Faith) Immunity].
237:139 Update: federal appeals court upholds preliminary injunction against continued medical keeplock of Rastafarian inmate who had religious objections to submitting to mandatory TB testing. Jolly v. Coughlin, 76 F.3d 468 (2nd Cir. 1996). [Cross- reference: Medical Care].
238:158 Fundamentalist Christian inmate had right to be involved in and witness baptism through immersion, and to receive publications which did not incite violence towards Roman Catholics, even if those publications would be "deeply offensive" to Catholics. Weir v. Nix, 890 F.Supp. 769 (S.D.Iowa 1995).
239:170 Muslim prisoners' assertion that prison policy preventing them from selecting a religious leader from within their congregation violated a tenet of their religion and also violated their right to equal protection since non-religious inmate groups were able to choose their own leader stated valid claims. Abdul Jabbar-Al Samad v. Horn, 913 F.Supp. 373 (E.D. Pa. 1995).
239:171 Denying Muslim inmates the use of chapel restroom to perform ablutions with water prior to Ramadan services did not violate their religious freedom rights, but rather served legitimate security purpose of permitting observation of inmates; inmates failed to show why performing ablutions in cells prior to services was inadequate. Theus v. Angelone, 895 F.Supp. 265 (D. Nev. 1995).
239:172 Federal appeals court, in criminal appeal, rules that Religious Freedom Restoration Act may give Rastafarians the right to possess and use marijuana; possible implications for correctional officer or prisoner disciplinary cases. U.S. v. Bauer, 84 F.3d 1549, 1996 U.S. App. Lexis 11460 (9th Cir. 1996).
217:12 Florida prisoner who sought to change his name because of his conversion to Islam religious faith should not have been denied name change without an evidentiary hearing. Hoyos v. Singletary, 639 So.2d 631 (Fla. App. 1994).
217:13 Texas state statute restricting name changes by convicted felons did not violate prisoner's right to free exercise of his Muslim religion, since it was connected to legitimate governmental interests. Matthews v. Morales, 23 F.3d 118 (5th Cir. 1994).
218:28 Appeals court reinstates suit by Native American prisoner seeking daily access to prison sweat lodge for purposes of prayer; defendant prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity because they failed to articulate a legitimate penological interest served by denial of such daily access. Thomas v. Gunter, 32 F.3d 1258 (8th Cir. 1994).
219:44 Denial of inmate's request for place of worship to perform Satanic religious rituals and possession of candles, incense and other items necessary for rituals constituted violation of his First Amendment religious freedom. Howard v. U.S., 864 F.Supp. 1019 (D. Colo. 1994).
220:57 Prison directive requiring Santeria prisoners to receive approval to possess beads which were artifacts of their religion, and prohibiting them from wearing the beads, violated their religious freedom under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; imposing such requirements on Santeria beads, while not on rosary beads, violated prisoners' right to equal protection. Campos v. Coughlin, 854 F.Supp. 194 (S.D.N.Y. 1994).
221:74 Trial court's order that warden supply Hindu prisoner with a specific book not requested by him in satisfaction of requirement that each prisoner be supplied with the "bible" of his faith was erroneous and not supported by any evidence; Ohio appeals court orders further proceedings to determine which of the sixty-six texts requested by the prisoner is the Hindu "bible." Karmasu v. Tate, 95 Ohio App.3d 399, 642 N.E.2d 664 (1994).
222:93 Prohibition on prisoners performing prayer ritual involving physical movement outside of their cells did not violate Muslim prisoners' religious freedom rights under New York state law. Jackson v. Coughlin, 612 N.Y.S.2d 89 (A.D. 1994).
223:108 Muslim prisoner's religious freedom rights were not violated when he was taken off of list of fasting inmates allowed night time meal schedule during Muslim holy month of Ramadan; prisoner himself broke daylight fast by eating meal in infirmary cell and did not support claim that his religion had an "injury exception" to fasting requirement. Brown-El v. Harris, 26 F.3d 68 (8th Cir. 1994).
224:124 Native American prisoner's religious freedom rights were not violated by requirement that he cut his hair short and keep his medicine pouch and headband stored in his cell. Diaz v. Collins, 872 F.Supp. 353 (E.D. Tex. 1994).
225:140 Prison policy requiring inmate with new religious name to also use his "committed" name on all correspondence incoming and outgoing did not violate prisoner's rights. Fawaad v. Herring, 874 F.Supp. 350 (N.D. Ala. 1995).
225:141 Failure to provide full religious Pentecostal services at prison did not "substantially burden" prisoner's right to practice his Pentecostal religion. Bryant v. Gomez, 46 F.3d 948 (9th Cir. 1995).
227:172 Michigan appeals court rejects Muslim prisoners' challenge to policy directive prohibiting release from work assignments to attend religious services, other than during state observed holidays. Abdur-Ra-Oof v. Dept. of Corrections, 528 N.W.2d 840 (Mich. App. 1995).
227:173 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) applies retroactively to Native American prisoner's claim that refusal to allow him access to a sweat lodge violated his religious freedom; prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity from liability for damages, however, since they acted in good faith and in reliance on the law as it was established at the time of their actions prior to enactment of the RFRA. Werner v. McCotter, 49 F.3d 1476 (10th Cir. 1995). » Editor's Note: For other decisions holding that the RFRA clearly applies to prisoners, see Bryant v. Gomez, 46 F.3d 948 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam); and Brown-El v. Harris, 26 F.3d 68 (8th Cir. 1994). Brown-El, as well as the above reported case, holds that the RFRA applies retroactively to claims which arose before its passage.
Prison did not violate muslim prisoner's religious rights by refusing to provide diet including ritually slaughtered meat despite past practice of providing Jewish inmates with kosher meals; policy of barring outside visitors from inmate religious meetings, while allowing outsiders at self-help group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous, also did not violate inmates' religious freedoms. Salaam v. Collins, 830 F.Supp. 853 (D. Md. 1993).
Appeals court orders further hearings on whether prison should have offered a kosher diet to a single Orthodox Jewish inmate; court rejects claim that prison had an obligation to provide inmate with an Orthodox rabbi and special clothing, to abstain from transporting him on the Sabbath or religious holidays, or to allow him to possess candles in his cell for religious purposes. Ward v. Walsh, 1 F.3d 873 (9th Cir. 1993).
Factual issues as to whether congregate religious services could have been accommodated at uncompleted facility to which prisoner was transferred precluded summary judgment in prisoner's suit alleging violation of religious freedom. Salahuddin v. Coughlin, 993 F.2d 306 (2nd Cir. 1993).
Prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity from suit for denying Muslim inmates use of prison video equipment to produce a cable public access television program promoting their religious views. Thompson v. Clarke, 848 F.Supp. 1452 (D. Neb. 1994).
Outright ban on "Hebrew Israelite" religious literature violated prisoner's religious freedom under the First Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act; court rules that the Act applies retroactively and supersedes rule set forth by U.S. Supreme Court in Thornburgh v. Abbott, as to censorship of incoming religious publications. Lawson v. Dugger, 844 F.Supp. 1538 (S.D. Fla. 1994).
Muslim inmate who legally changed his name was entitled to use both his religious and committed names on correspondence; prison officials violated his rights if correspondence they refused to process contained both names, federal appeals court holds. Malik v. Brown, 16 F.3d 330 (9th Cir. 1994).
Rules requiring Native American inmate to cut his hair, as well as prohibiting his possession of various religious articles while in administrative segregation, did not violate his rights and were based on legitimate security concerns. Bettis v. Delo, 14 F.3d 22 (8th Cir. 1994).
Minister who was not part of county jail's religious program was arbitrarily denied private meetings with prisoners, use of one of the county jail's 50 Bibles, and limited to one visit per day. Phelps v. Pinkney, 604 N.Y.S.2d 368 (A.D. 1993).
Prisoner's religious freedom was not unduly burdened by rules prohibiting him from possessing a crucifix. Escobar v. Landwehr, 837 F.Supp. 284 (W.D. Wis. 1993).
Instituting searches and restrictions on Muslim inmates' access to chapel in response to fights in the chapel and discovery of weapons there did not violate Muslim inmates' religious rights. Aziz v. Moore, 8 F.3d 13 (8th Cir. 1993).
"Religious Freedom Restoration Act" passed into law without any exemption for correctional facilities; prison and jail regulations imposing a burden on prisoners' free exercise of religion rights must be justified as furthering a "compelling governmental interest" and utilize the "least restrictive means" necessary; standard of justification by showing reasonable relation to "legitimate penological interest" set for religion cases in O'Lone case overturned by this legislation. (1993)
Rule requiring that prisoners communicate only in English could not constitutionally be applied to punish Muslim prisoner for praying in Arabic; generally stated rule did not give prisoners adequate notice that it would be given the "unexpected and unusual interpretation" of applying to prayers. Conner v. Sakai, 994 F.2d 1408 (9th Cir. 1993).
Prison policy prohibiting demonstrative prayers in the exercise yard did not violate religious freedom rights of Muslim inmates under New York state law. Jackson v. Coughlin, 595 N.Y.S.2d 631 (Sup. 1993). Rastafarian prisoner had no right, under New York state law, to wear a religious crown or receive a vegetarian diet. Bunny v. Coughlin, 593 N.Y.S.2d 354 (A.D. 1993).
Prisoners who claimed a sincere religious belief against cutting hair were entitled to preliminary injunction against application of prison grooming code forbidding hair more than three inches in length. Longstreth v. Maynard, 961 F.2d 895 (10th Cir. 1992).
Exclusion of prisoner from Native American Religion ceremonies because he did not have a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) enrollment number did not violate his First Amendment rights, but refusal to allow inmate to show that he was a Native American by other evidence violated settlement agreement in other litigation. Bear v. Nix, 977 F.2d 1291 (8th Cir. 1992).
Prison's refusal to allow inmate to receive and possess allegedly "anti-Catholic" comic books was a violation of his First Amendment rights; action was based on "speculative" perceived security risk. Lyon v. Grossheim, 803 F.Supp. 1583 (S.D. Iowa 1992).
Prison's total ban on prayer oil for Muslim inmates was unconstitutional, and prison official was not entitled to qualified immunity from damages; total ban on incense, however, was justified by its possible use to mask the smell of marijuana and its offense to other prisoners. Munir v. Scott, 792 F.Supp. 1472 (E.D. Mich. 1992).
Forbidding Muslim inmates to wear religious headgear outside of their cells or religious services did not violate their right to religious freedom. Muhammad v. Lynaugh, 966 F.2d 901 (5th Cir. 1992).
Refusal of prison authorities to deliver a hardbound Bible to an inmate did not violate the inmate's First or Eighth Amendment rights since they would have allowed him to possess a softbound Bible; private corporation running detention facility under contract with county acted under color of law for purposes of federal civil rights statute. Skelton v. Pri-Cor, Inc., 963 F.2d 100 (6th Cir. 1992).
Occasional availability of a rabbi upon request and opportunity to use an "All Faith" chapel for prayer was an adequate accommodation of a Jewish inmate's religious needs in a facility that only had three or four Jewish prisoners. Jaben v. Moore, 788 F.Supp. 500 (D. Kan. 1992).
Federal appeals court finds that homosexual inmate's claim that he was barred from attendance at services because of his sexual preference required a trial when allegations that inmate was a "security risk" were also factually disputed. Phelps v. Dunn, 965 F.2d 93 (6th Cir. 1992).
Inmates who are members of the Moorish Science Temple were not entitled to have prison hire an Islamic religious advisor belonging to their sect; policy of providing only a single Islamic religious advisor for all sects did not violate constitution. Blair-Bey v. Nix, 963 F.2d 162 (8th Cir. 1992).
Prison rule requiring short hair was justified by legitimate security concerns and therefore did not violate religious freedom rights of Rastafarian inmates. Scott v. Mississippi Dept. of Corrections, 961 F.2d 77 (5th Cir. 1992).
Prison prohibition on long hair and beards did not violate prisoners' right to free exercise of religion; grooming regulation was rationally related to legitimate prison security and hygiene concerns. Powell v. Estelle, 959 F.2d 22 (5th Cir. 1992).
Inmate's request that prison use his new Islamic name was not based on a sincerely held religious belief, but even if it had been, the prison officials did not violate his First Amendment rights by refusing to exclusively use his new name. Thacker v. Dixon, 784 F.Supp. 286 (E.D.N.C. 1991).
Prison regulation prohibiting "long hair" did not violate the religious freedom rights of "Nazarite" religion prisoner. Campbell v. Purkett, 957 F.2d 535 (8th Cir. 1992).
Punishment of inmate for violation of prison rules, which prevented him from engaging in communal prayer during Islamic holiday, did not violate his right to freedom of religion. Benford v. Wright, 782 F.Supp. 1263 (N.D. Ill. 1991).
Prison officials' requirement that Muslim prisoner remove his religious headgear in dining room and in disciplinary proceedings did not violate his constitutional rights, even if his religious belief was that he had to wear it at all times. Aqeel v. Seiter, 781 F.Supp. 517 (S.D. Ohio 1991).
Federal court should have appointed lawyer for inmate to pursue his claim that prison officials' denial of his request to send $2 from his inmate trust account to a religious organization violated his First Amendment rights. Abdullah v. Gunter, 949 F.2d 1032 (8th Cir. 1991).
Prison's decision to conduct Muslim religious services on Friday evenings rather than Friday afternoon, did not violate Muslim inmate's constitutional right to exercise his religion. Johnson v. Bruce, 771 F.Supp. 327 (D. Kan. 1991).
Rastafarian prisoner did not have a right, under New York state law, to wear a religious crown or receive a vegetarian diet. Bunny v. Coughlin, 573 N.Y.S.2d 570 (Sup. 1991).
Federal appeals court overturns dismissal of Native American prisoner's lawsuit over denial of exemption from haircut regulation; genuine issues existed as to whether prisoner was sincere in his religious beliefs and whether an exemption from grooming requirements would be reasonable. Mosier v. Maynard, 937 F.2d 1521 (10th Cir. 1991).
Failure to provide inmate with a Unitarian Universalist chaplain or a vegetarian diet did not violate his right to religious freedom. Johnson v. Moore, 926 F.2d 921 (9th Cir. 1991).
Volunteer chaplain's and deputy's actions in barring a homosexual inmate from taking a leadership role in chapel services was reasonably related to security concerns and the need to provide religious programs for the inmate population as a whole. Phelps v. Dunn, 770 F.Supp. 346 (E.D. Ky. 1991).
Failure to pay for full-time "imam" to serve Muslim inmates did not violate their religious rights; provision of pay for four hours of service each week, plus provision of religious diet and allowing volunteers to provide additional services showed reasonable religious opportunities were provided. Al-Alamin v. Gramley, 926 F.2d 680 (7th Cir. 1991). Requiring prisoner to participate in alcoholism treatment program modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous did not violate his religious freedom despite references to "Higher Power" in its philosophy. Stafford v. Harrison, 766 F.Supp. 1014 (D. Kan. 1991).
If Seventh Day Adventist sincerely believes that his religious beliefs require a vegetarian diet, he may be entitled to receive one; failure to provide such a diet, however, did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. LaFevers v. Saffle, 936 F.2d 1117 (10th Cir. 1991).
Prison policy prohibiting nation of Islam from holding services at prison without outside religious leader did not violate inmate's religious rights. Hobbs v. Pennell, 754 F.Supp. 1040 (D. Del. 1991).
Prison could forbid Jewish prisoners to wear yarmulkes outside of religious services and cells without violating their First Amendment religious rights; rule against non-uniform headgear was aimed at cutting down on gang activity. Young v. Lane, 922 F.2d 370 (7th Cir. 1991).
Prison rules requiring haircuts and requiring clean shaven appearance for identification photographs did not violate prisoners' religious rights because of a strong interest in preventing escapes. Harris v. Dugger, 757 F.Supp. 1359 (S.D. Fla. 1991); Perry v. Davies, 757 F.Supp. 1223 (D. Kan. 1991).
Rastafarian inmates could not be required to cut their "dreadlocks," but could be prohibited from wearing religious "crowns." Benjamin v. Coughlin, 905 F.2d 571 (2nd Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 111 S.Ct. 372 (1990).
Inmates in protective custody who were not permitted private meetings with religious advisors were denied a reasonable opportunity to exercise their religions. Griffin v. Coughlin, 743 F.Supp. 1006 (N.D.N.Y. 1990).
Prohibition on inmate in disciplinary segregation possessing rosary and temporary denial of visits with Catholic priest did not violate inmate's religious rights. McClaflin v. Pearce, 743 F.Supp. 1381 (D. Or. 1990).
Prison rule against beards did not violate religious rights of orthodox Jewish inmates; policy was justified by institutional security interests. Friedman v. State of Ariz., 912 f. 2d 328 (9th Cir. 1990).
Prison's policy of refusing to add prisoner's Muslim name to his clothing and mail delivery list was an unreasonable restraint on religious freedom. Salaam v. Lockhart, 905 F.2d 1168 (8th Cir. 1990).
Prison policy prohibiting inmate beards over two inches long did not violate religious freedom rights of Aryan Nation church member. Dunavant v. Moore, 907 F.2d 77 (8th Cir. 1990).
Prison officials failed to justify treating one religious group different from others who were exempted from prison grooming policies against long hair and beards. Swift v. Lewis, 901 F.2d 730 (9th Cir. 1990).
Regulation prohibiting use of inmate trust funds for religious contributions did not violate prisoners' first amendment rights. Blankenship v. Gunter, 898 F.2d 625 (8th Cir. 1990). Federal appeals court reinstates inmate's suit challenging federal prison chaplains' exercise of nonreligious powers. Theriault v. A Religious Office, 895 F.2d 104 (2nd Cir. 1990).
Denying Muslim prisoners right to hold prison-wide services following lockdown and subsequent rearrangement did not violate first amendment. Ra Chaka v. Franzen, 727 F.Supp. 454 (N.D. Ill. 1989).
Inmate could be denied access to satanic materials based on prison security concerns. McCorkle v. Johnson, 881 F.2d 993 (11th Cir. 1989).
Regulation requiring approval of prisoner mailings was not unconstitutional as applied to prisoner's mailings on behalf of purported church. Woods v. O'Leary, 890 F.2d 883 (7th cir. 1989).
Muslim prisoner was not denied religious freedom due to lack of Muslim services at jail while he was confined there. Siddiqi v. Leak, 880 F.2d 904 (7th Cir. 1989).
Prison policy prohibiting Jewish prisoners from traveling within facility for religious services violated first amendment. Whitney v. Brown, 882 F.2d 1068 (6th Cir. 1989).
Requiring Rastafarian inmate to get haircut for identification photograph violated religious freedom. Benjamin v. Coughlin, 708 F.Supp. 570 (S.D.N.Y. 1989).
Missing one meal prepared in accordance with Muslim religious beliefs and unsanitary prayer surroundings, in absence of municipal policy, did not result in liability. Muhammad v. McMickens, 708 F.Supp. 607 (S.D.N.Y. 1989).
Prison did not need to employ chaplains of each possible faith; refusal to allow inmates to conduct moorish science services without minister proper. Johnson-Bey v. Lane, 863 F.2d 1308 (7th Cir. 1988).
U.S. appeals court remands case on prisoners' use of Muslim names for determination of whether alternative of A/K/A on mail and prison clothing is reasonable. Salaam v. Lockhart, 856 F.2d 1120 (8th Cir. 1988).
Orthodox Jewish inmate's rights violated by requirement that beard be no longer than one inch. Fromer v. Scully, 693 F Supp. 1536 (S.D.N.Y. 1988).
Prison officials entitled to qualified immunity for disciplining inmate for group prayer in prison yard. Shabazz v. Coughlin, 852 F.2d 697 (2nd Cir. 1988).
Native American inmate's rights violated by prison policy of hiring medicine man from variant sect of Sioux Tribe. Sapanajin v. Gunter, 857 F.2d 463 (8th Cir. 1988).
Prison can prohibit unsupervised group worship in yard, while allowing other group activities such as sports. Cooper v. Tard, 855 F.2d 125 (3rd Cir. 1988).
Prisoner awarded $50 for prison official's unjustified denial of his entrance to prison chapel. Vanscoy v. Hicks, 691 F.Supp. 1336 (M.D. Ala. 1988).
Valid security interests outweighed any right of inmate to grow hair long as required by American Indian religion. Pollock v. Marshall, 845 F.2d 656 (6th Cir. 1988).
Inmate confined to special housing unit as disciplinary measure could be denied right to request attendance at Muslim services. Aliym v. Miles, 679 F.Supp. 1 (W.D. N.Y. 1988).
U.S. Supreme court rules inmate working outside can be prevented from returning to prison for church services; appellate court erred in placing the burden on prison officials to disprove the availability of alternative methods of ensuring constitutional protections. O'Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 107 S.Ct. 2400 (1987).
U.S. Supreme Court vacates court decision that regulation prohibiting rosary beads in visiting area violates first amendment. Higgins v. Burroughs, 816 F.2d 119 (3rd Cir.), vacated, 108 S.Ct. 54 (1987).
Prison restriction on Hebrew Israelite literature violated first amendment; despite racist content, "speculative" to assume it would lead to violence. Lawson v. Dugger, 840 F.2d 781 (11th Cir. 1987).
Prisoner who converted to islam did not have clearly established constitutional right to refuse to respond to committed name. Muhammad v. Wainwright, 839 F.2d 1422 (11th Cir. 1987).
Prison could not restrict job as prison chaplain to "protestant"; refusal to consider muslim violated Title VII. Rasul v. District of Columbia, 680 F.Supp. 436 (D. D.C. 1988).
Prison need not accede to inmate's request for food prepared in pots and with utensils that had not touched pork. Kahey v. Jones, 836 F.2d 948 (5th Cir. 1988).
Court overturns award of damages for refusal to allow inmate to lead muslim service; wrong standard was applied. Lane v. Griffin, 834 F.2d 403 (4th Cir. 1987).
Jewish prisoner entitled to present evidence on claim that he was denied right to practice religion; belief must be sincerely held. McElyea v. Babbitt, 833 F.2d 196 (9th Cir. 1987).
Requirement that prisoner sign both committed name and legal muslim name when entering library did not violate religious freedom. Felix v. Rolan, 833 F.2d 517 (5th Cir. 1987).
Prison regulation forbidding the wearing of native American religious headbands in dining facilities was not a first amendment violation. Standing Deer v. Carlson, 831 F.2d 1525 (9th Cir. 1987).
Orthodox Jewish prisoner could bring lawsuit over denial of kosher food, confiscation of religious articles and prohibition of facial hair. Ross v. Coughlin, 669 F.Supp. 1235 (S.D. N.Y. 1987).
Prison can bar certain inmates from Native American religious ritual requiring use of axe, red hot stones and pitchfork. Allen v. Toombs, 827 F.2d 563 (9th Cir. 1987).
Prison may ban religious worship by group advocating violent racism, but may not bar literature advocating "racial purity." McCabe v. Arave, No. 86-3640, (9th Cir. 1987), 87 Daily Journal Daily Appellate Report 6186 (Sept. 15, 1987).
Policy allowing female guards access to areas where they could view nude male inmates might violate inmates religious freedom. Kent v. Johnson, 41 CrL 2204 (6th Cir. 1987).
Denial of request that all sunni moslem inmates be allowed to shower before services did not violate rights. Abdullah v. Coughlin, 515 N.Y.S.2d 881 (A.D. 1987).
Court prevents religious group of inmates from wearing identifying emblems because of their street gang involvement; no right to separate church services. Faheem-El v. Lane, 657 F.Supp. 638 (C.D. Ill. 1986).
Prohibiting "dreadlock" hairstyle of inmates supported by security reasons; guard may be present at inmate religious meetings. Reed v. Faulkner, 653 F. Sup. 965 (N.D. Ind. 1987).
Warden not in contempt of consent decree calling for medicine men and spiritual leaders; peyote "buttons" properly prohibited in native american inmate religious services. Indian Inmates of Nebraska Penitentiary v. Grammer, 649 F.Supp. 1374 (D. Neb. 1986).
Protective custody inmates entitled to equivalent religious and library facilities available to general population inmates; injunction ordered against statesville correction department. Williams v. Lane, 646 F.Supp. 1379 (N.D. Ill. 1986).
"Witchcraft" (Wiccan) religion held valid by the 4th Circuit; "the Church of Wicca occupies a place in the lives of its members parallel to that of more conventional religions." Prison officials must allow inmate to use a white robe and statue in the chapel, but could prohibit candles and sulfur. Dettmer v. Landon, 799 F.2d 929, 1986 U.S. App. Lexis 29400 (4th Cir.).
Close custody inmates properly denied group services. McCabe v. Arave, 626 F.Supp. 1199 (D. Idaho 1986).
National agreement signed allowing homosexual church services in prison. Information was obtained from the San Francisco Recorder, California, 8/28/86.
Inmates properly segregated for refusing I.D. cards with "committed" and adopted names. Mujihadeen v. Compton, 627 F.Supp. 356 (W.D. Tenn. 1985).
Prisoner entitled to religious materials such as candles, incense, and a robe, despite security concerns. Dettmer v. Landon, 617 F.Supp. 592 (D.C. Va. 1985).
Standard modified on right to attend religious services. Shabazz v. O'Lone, 782 F.2d 416 (3rd Cir. 1986).
Sheriff properly dismissed social worker for giving religious counseling. Spratt v. Co. of Kent, 621 F.Supp. 594 (D.C. Mich. 1985).
Dietary and work provisions arranged for Muslims. Al Shakir v. Carlson, 605 F.Supp. 374 (M.D. Pa. 1984).
Claim for denial of religious literature to proceed. Wiggins v. Sargent, 753 F.2d 663 (8th Cir. 1985).
Rights between prison and inmates discussed when Moslems change their names. Azeez v. Fairman, 604 F.Supp. 357 (C.D. Ill. 1985).
Violence prevents the conducting of group homosexual religious services. Brown v. Johnson, 743 F.2d 408 (6thCir. 1984).
Court upholds four-bag rule; no violation in not recognizing use of Muslim names. Salahuddin v. Coughlin, 591 F.Supp. 353 (N.D.N.Y. 1984).
Court had no authority to order officials no make prayer provisions for Muslims. Sapp v. Jones, 481 N.Y.S.2d 514 (A.D. 3 Dept. 1984). Temporary suspension of religious services upheld for security reasons. Thomas v. Norris, 596 F.Supp. 422 (E.D. Ark. 1984).
Religious inmates allowed to wear headbands. Reinert v. Haas, 585 F.Supp. 477 (S.D. Iowa, 1984).
Muslim prisoners may have right to shower before religious services. Abdullah v. Coughlin, 474 N.Y.S.2d 844 (App. 1984).
Prison officials improperly denied special diet for religious inmate subsequently needing medical furlough to determine condition of his health. Prushinowski v. Hambrick, 570 F.Supp. 863 (E.D. N.C. 1983.
Court denies inmate's claim to practice religion found to be a "sham". Jacques v. Hilton, 569 F.Supp. 730 (D. N.J. 1983).
Moslem inmates allowed to remain in their cells to pray during recreation period. Abdullah v. Smith, 465 N.Y.S.2d 81 (App. 1983).
Moslem inmates must leave recreation yard and return to their cells to pray. Bowe v. Smith, 465 N.Y.S.2d 391 (App. 1983).
Different treatment between Moslems and Christians does not violate equal protection. Thompson v. Comm. of Ky., 712 F.2d 1078 (6th Cir. 1983).
Prison regulation prohibiting beards was valid; no infringement on religion. McFadden v. Lucas, 713 F.2d 143 (5th Cir. 1983).
Inmate properly denied religious articles and the practice of Satanic beliefs. Childs v. Duckworth, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983); affirming 509 F.Supp. 1254 (N.D. Ind. 1981).
Inmate sues seeking injunctive relief from shaving for religious and medical reasons. Moore v. State of Florida, 703 F.2d 516 (11th Cir. 1983).
Court denies inmate's claim on basis of "sham" religion ordination as ministers by mail (Universal Life Church of California). Jacques v. Hilton, 569 F.Supp. 730 (D. N.J. 1983).
Native American inmates accuse prison officials of religious discrimination. Native American Council of Tribes v. Solem, 691 F.2d 382 (8th Cir. 1982).
Sixth circuit orders review of Ohio prison policy requiring inmate to cut his hair; finds that religious rights may have been violated. Weaver v. Jago, 675 F.2d 116 (6th Cir. 1982).
Missouri Federal Court dismisses suit brought by Native American Indian federal prisoners alleging religious deprivation. Mathes v. Carlson, 534 F.Supp. 226 (W.D. Mo. 1982).
Fourth Circuit allows inmate to grow hair in accord with religious beliefs. Gallahan v. Hollyfield, 670 F.2d 1345 (4th Cir. 1982).
Request for religious services for homosexuals denied for fear that violence would erupt. Inosencio v. Johnson, 547 F.Supp. 130 (E.D. Mich. 1982).
Inmate not allowed to grow beard since it prevents ease of identification in the event of escape. Furqan v. Ga. State Bd. of Offender Rehabilitation, 554 F.Supp. 873 (N.D. Ga. 1982).
Appeals court rules that suit by inmate which he claimed that hair grooming standards infringed his religious freedom was not frivolous. Dreibelbis v. Marks, 675 F.2d 579 (3rd Cir. 1982).
Federal court upholds North Carolina prison regulations concerning the ordering of prayer rugs by muslim inmates; requirements do not violate inmate's exercise of freedom of religion. Vaughn v. Garrison, 534 F.Supp. 90 (E.D. N.C. 1981).
Missouri federal court dismisses suit concerning deprivation of religious right finding his "religion" to be bogus. Green v. White, 525 F.Supp. 81 (E.D. Mo. 1981).
Oklahoma Supreme Court rules that denying inmate the use of marijuana for religious purposes was not unconstitutional. L'Aquarius v. Maynard, 634 P.2d 1310 (Okla. 1981).
Pennsylvania Federal Court rejects inmate's application for injunctive relief asking for either a special religious diet or transfer to a county institution. Africa v. State of Pennsylvania, 520 F.Supp. 967 (E.D. Pa. 1981).
Federal court grants summary judgment against Jewish prisoners seeking relief for alleged religious infringement. Glasshofer v. Thornburgh, 514 F.Supp. 1242 (E.D. Pa. 1981).
Rules prohibiting inmates from wearing hats and attending religious services while in segregation upheld on appeal. St. Claire v. Cuyler, 634 F.2d 109 (3rd Cir. 1980); 482 F.Supp. 257 (E.D. Pa. 1979).
Punishment of inmate for refusal to handle pork violates First Amendment; 9 1/2 month stay in segregation held not disproportionately long. Chapman v. Pickett, 419 F.Supp. 967 (C.D. Ill. 1980).
Prison's policy of requiring Muslim inmates to use non- Muslim commitment names violates First Amendment; exception made for records-keeping. Masjid Muhammad - D.C.C. v. Keye, 479 F.Supp. 1311 (D. Del. 1979).
» For earlier case discussions see; Jones v. Bradley, 590 F.2d 294 (9th Cir. 1979);McDonald v. Hall, 576 F.2d 120 (1st Cir. 1978); Theriault v. Silber, 453 F.Supp. 254 (W.D. Tex. 1978); Ron v. Lennane, 445 F.Supp. 98 (D. Conn. 1977); Kennedy v. Meacham, 540 F.2d 1057 (10th Cir. 1976); Burgen v. Henderson, 536 F.2d 501 (2d Cir. 1976); Jihaad v. Carlson, 410 F.Supp. 1132 (E.D. Mich. 1976); Hundley v. Sielaff, 407 F.Supp. 543 (N.D. Ill. 1975); Pinkston v. Bensinger, 359 F.Supp. 95 (N.D. Ill. 1973); Wilson v. Prasse, 463 F.2d 109 (3rd Cir. 1972); William v. Hoyt, 556 F.2d 1336 (5th Cir. 1977); Maquire v. Wilkinson, 405 F.Supp. 637 (D. Conn. 1975); Collins v. Haga, 373 F.Supp. 923 (W.D. Va. 1974); Rinehart v. Brewer, 360 F.Supp. 105 (S.D. Iowa 1973); United States ex rel.Goings v. Aaron, 350 F.Supp. 1 (D. Minn. 1972); Smith v. Sampson, 349 F.Supp. 268 (D. N.H. 1972); Howard v. Warden, 348 F.Supp. 1204 (E. D. Va. 1972); Collins v. Schoonfield, 344 F.Supp. 257 (D. Md. 1972); Williams v. Batton, 342 F.Supp. 1110 (E.D. N.C. 1972); Rowland v. Jones, 452 F.2d 1005 (8th Cir. 1971).