AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
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 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
Three defendants (a medical director, chief operating officer, and registered dietician) in a civilly-committed person's civil rights lawsuit were properly denied qualified immunity on the claim for violation of his constitutional right to adequate nutrition. He presented evidence from which a jury could find that he lost 11 pounds in less than two months and that his bag lunches frequently lacked items as punishment for alleged behavior violations. Further, he allegedly at times received only 1200 calories per day rather than the recommended 2000. The right to adequate nutrition was clearly established, and these three defendants knew of the plaintiff's complaints and had authority to change his meals. The appeals court also held, however, that the evidence against two other defendants did not show deliberate indifference. Ingrassia v. Dicknette, #14-3358, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 10637 (8th Cir.).
A prisoner serving a life sentence was diagnosed with arthritis and high cholesterol, and received a low-cholesterol diet planned by a prison dietician for ten years. Then a new warden fired the dietician and cancelled all special diets, as well as decreasing the frequency of outdoor recreation. The prisoner asserted cruel and unusual punishment claims, as well as an equal protection claim based on the assertion that other Illinois prisons provided prescription diets and more outdoor recreation. While upholding summary judgment on claims relating to outdoor recreation, a federal appeals court found that the defendants were not entitled to it on claims relating to the cancellation of the prisoner's prescription diet. McDonald v. Hardy, #15-1102, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 8535 (7th Cir.).
An inmate claimed that two correctional officers subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment by depriving him of meals. The jury awarded nominal and punitive damages for deprivation of nutritionally adequate food. Reversing, a federal appeals court held that the admission into evidence of a prison monitoring report prepared by a private non-profit corporation was erroneous. It was hearsay as it contained statements by inmates complaining about conditions at the prison, and it did not fall under the business records exception to the hearsay rule. It was offered for the truth of the statements made and was not made under oath. Admission of the report was not harmless because the jury was most likely influenced by the trial court's abuse of discretion in admitting it. Abascal v. Fleckenstein, #14-1591, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 7760 (2nd Cir.).
A federal appeals court reinstated a prisoner's lawsuit contending that the prison food served to him was so deficient as to constitute an Eighth Amendment violation. The trial court had dismissed the complaint because it was the same as a lawsuit filed against prison employees in 2010 by a fellow inmate, which had been dismissed on the merits. Because the current plaintiff had not been a party to that earlier lawsuit and the defendants had not demonstrated that an exception to the rule against third party preclusion applied, the plaintiff was not barred from pursuing the same claims on his own behalf. Duckett v. Fuller, #15-6568, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 7417 (4th Cir.).
An inmate classified as a violent felon was housed in solitary confinement for over a decade based on a finding of gang affiliation. He was found, in a disciplinary proceeding, to have refused nine consecutive meals over a three day period that coincided with a larger hunger strike and work stoppage protesting solitary confinement conditions. He lost 90 days of good time credits for engaging in "behavior which might lead to violence or disorder, or otherwise endangers facility, outside community or another person.” An intermediate California appeals court found insufficient evidence to support the disciplinary ruling. Nothing in the evidence of the delays, cancellation of services, and the reallocation of prison personnel to monitor the hunger strikers indicated that prison operations were thrown into "disorder." In re Gomez, #A142470, 2016 Cal. App. Lexis 320.
A pretrial detainee, who was an Army veteran, was enrolled in a special veterans' program. He worked in the jail laundry and lived in a special veterans' wing, apart from the general population. He sued, claiming that he was paid $3 a day but should have been paid the federal minimum wage, and that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, given insufficient food, was subjected to rodents and insects, had to drink filthy water, lacked outdoor recreation, and had to stand in a "hot, smelly room" for several hours each day. A trial court held that the plaintiff had no constitutional right to be paid at all for his work in jail, much less to be paid minimum wage. Other conditions of confinement claims were dismissed without prejudice for deficiencies in pleading. A federal appeals court reversed the dismissal of the inadequate food and contaminated water claims, but otherwise affirmed. Smith v. Dart, #14-1169, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 17003 (7th 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.).
A $4.1 million settlement has been reached in a claim by a 25-year-old college student who was apparently abandoned in a windowless Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) cell for almost five days with no food or water. During those days, the plaintiff claimed, he drank his own urine, attempted to carve a farewell message to his mother in his arm with a shard of broken glass, and had hallucinations that made him believe that DEA agents were sending gases through vents to try to poison him. When finally discovered, he was suffering from severe dehydration, kidney failure, 15 pounds of weight loss, a lung punctured by swallowed glass, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Following the incident, the DEA adopted new national detention standards mandating daily inspections of cells and in cell cameras. Chong v. United States, demand notice sent to DEA, claim settled July 30, 2013.
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.).
The highest court in New York has ruled that it did not violate a prisoner's rights to issue a judicial order allowing him to be force fed via a nasogastric tube when his hunger strike caused his health to deteriorate to the point that his condition was believed to be life threatening. Bezio v. Dorsey, #65, 2013 N.Y. Lexis 859, 2013 NY Slip Op 3118.
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.).
An inmate went unfed for several days under a policy that prisoners who call their cellmates "enemies" are restrained on a bench without food until an individual cell or more compatible cellmate becomes available. A jury held for prison officials and wrote "0" in a space on the verdict form for damages. The trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury that it could award nominal damages if it found that the prisoner's rights were violated but that he did not suffer compensatory damages. The judgment was reversed, with further proceedings ordered. Taylor v. Dormire, #10–3863, 690 F.3d 898 (8th 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).
Serving a prisoner "nutriloaf" during a number of stays in a county jail could constitute cruel and unusual punishment and deliberate indifference to a serious health problem when it allegedly resulted in a "veritable epidemic" of vomiting on his part, as well as stomach pains and constipation. Jail officials could be liable if they knew that the food was causing these problems, yet made no attempt to remedy them. The court defined nutriloaf (also spelled "nutraloaf") as "a bad-tasting food given to prisoners as a form of punishment," adding that "it is colloquially known as 'prison loaf' or 'disciplinary loaf'." The jail allegedly had a policy under which nutriloaf was the sole and exclusive food served to prisoners transferred from a state prison to the jail when they had been in segregation prior to the transfer. Prude v. Clarke, #11-2811, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 6236 (7th Cir.).
A prisoner claimed that he had been improperly denied access to his medically-prescribed therapeutic diet, and that this violated due process and constituted cruel and unusual punishment. The diet was prescribed after a doctor concluded that his triglyceride levels would benefit from a therapeutic diet low in saturated fats. The prisoner's lawsuit lacked merit, as the interruptions in providing the special diet were prompted by allegations that the prisoner was violating mess hall rules, throwing away the special food, and routinely skipping his specialized meals. When it became clear that some of these violations were not proven and that others were the result of a misunderstanding, the special diet was restored. Collazo v. Pagano, #09-4650, 656 F.3d 131 (2nd Cir. 2011).
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 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).
Isolated incidents in which prisoners are deprived of a meal do not amount to a violation of constitutional rights, but a prisoner stated a potentially viable claim when he alleged that he received meals which were solely or largely peanut butter sandwiches for extended periods during lockdown, despite the fact that he had an allergy to peanut butter and suffered an allergic reaction. Ybarra v. Meador, #10-40628, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 11405 (Unpub. 5th 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.
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.).
A Texas prisoner claimed that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by being deprived of six meals over a 54-hour period, but a federal appeals court upheld summary judgment for the defendants. Prison officials must provide reasonably adequate food to inmates. To show an Eighth Amendment violation, a prisoner must show that conditions were "so serious as to deprive him of the minimal measure of life's necessities, as when denied some basic human need," and that prison officials acted with deliberate indifference. In this case, the prisoner failed to show that he suffered any physical injury as a result of missing the meals. His assertion that he caused himself two self-inflicted injuries as a result of being deprived of food was insufficient to defeat summary judgment when he had a well-documented history of causing harm to himself that predated the events at issue. Lockamy v. Rodriguez, #10-10332, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 24204 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A prisoner sued food service employees, the warden, and the assistant warden, claiming that they failed to screen inmates' food for foreign objects, resulting in him biting down on a metal nut found in cornbread served to him, leading to "excruciating pain" and a broken tooth. A federal appeals court ruled that the trial court acted erroneously in dismissing the lawsuit for failure to state a non-frivolous claim without allowing the prisoner the opportunity to develop further the facts of his claim. "A single incident of food poisoning or finding a foreign object in food does not constitute a violation of the constitutional rights of the prisoner affected. Evidence of frequent or regular injurious incidents of foreign objects in food, on the other hand, raises what otherwise might be merely isolated negligent behavior to the level of a constitutional violation." The prisoner alleged that similar incidents had happened before, and that one defendant had been aware of it. Green v. Atkinson, #09-11050, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 21373 (5th Cir.).
A county sheriff appealed from a federal court's order requiring him to take affirmative actions to remedy conditions in county jails that were found to violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Upholding the trial court's order, the appeals court found that t had not been erroneous for the court below to hear evidence on both rights violations and possible remedies at the same hearing. Further, the trial court did not "clearly err" in finding that air temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit "greatly increased" the risk of prisoners who took psychotropic medications suffering from heat-related illnesses, and that the food provided to prisoners was inadequate. Graves v. Arpaio, #08-17601, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 21077 (9th Cir.).
A former detainee at a county jail asserted a plausible claim that he lost 19 pounds during his eight months of incarceration there because he was not provided with sufficient food. The prisoner claimed that he complained about his meals at the jail over the entire time, and the appeals court ruled that this might indicate that an inadequate diet was part of a county policy or custom. The appeals court overturned the dismissal of damage claims against the county. Davis v. State of Missouri; #09-1711, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 17111 (Unpub. 8th Cir.).
A prisoner contended that a corrections officer at a prison "started a chain of events" that resulted in him having a stroke. He alleged that the officer denied him both breakfast and lunch on two days in a row, resulting in his blood pressure going very high. The officer also allegedly threatened the prisoner, warning him not to pursue a lawsuit, which could constitute a claim for unlawful retaliation. Since the prisoner claimed to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart problems, he might be able to establish deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs by the withholding of his meals. The trial court erred by dismissing the lawsuit without giving the prisoner an opportunity to amend his complaint. Zanders v. Ferko, #10-1796, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 16398 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
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 prisoner's assertion that he and fellow prisoners did not "enjoy" the food provided did not suffice for a claim of denial of a basic human need in violation of the Eighth Amendment. His various complaints about prison heating, air conditioning, small showers, dirty mops, and repeated playing of TV shows also failed to show unconstitutional conditions. Muniz v. Richardson, #09-2229, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 6703 (Unpub. 10th Cir.).
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.).
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 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.).
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 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.).
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.).
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 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 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.).
A correctional officer was not entitled to qualified immunity in a prisoner's lawsuit claiming that she had deprived him of 16 meals over a 23-day period. The court ruled that, if this were true, a jury could find that the officer acted in deliberate indifference to an obvious risk of harm. The obligation to provide prisoners with nutritionally adequate meals is clearly established under existing law. Foster v. Runnels, No. 06-15719, 554 F.3d 807 (9th Cir. 2009).
Prisoners have no right to compel a prison to comply with its internal regulations. The prison made a reasonable effort to serve hot meals, and the prisoners were not entitled to an order either under California law or the Eighth Amendment requiring it to comply with a regulatory mandate to serve two hot meals a day. In re Cannon, #A121142A121143, 2008 Cal. App. Lexis 2357 (1st Dist.).
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.).
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 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.).
Depriving a prisoner of lunch five days a week for five months, with no resulting physical harm and no deprivation of other meals did not state a claim for violation of his constitutional rights. Hernandez v. Florida Dept. of Corrections, No. 07-15147, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 12491 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
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.).
Prisoner who admitted that he had not suffered any physical injury because of allegedly contaminated food trays, and who also stated that he was not aware that anyone else had suffered such injuries failed to show a violation of the Eighth Amendment. There was a lack of evidence that the defendants had acted with deliberate indifference. Barrow v. Texas Dept. of Corrections, No. 07-40274, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 6709 (5th Cir.).
Prisoner with AIDS adequately alleged that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs by delaying him from seeing a doctor for months, not permitting him to take his AIDS medications because of his housing assignment, and failing to provide him with medical attention on an occasion that he passed blood, as well as denying him adequate food, which affected his health. The prisoner failed, however, to establish a viable claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act, since the mere fact that he had AIDS was inadequate standing alone, to show that he had a disability. Carter v. Taylor, Civ. No. 06-561, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 25158 (D. Del.).
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.).
Prisoner failed to show that a private company providing food at a county jail or jail officials knew that problems with the food served posed an excessive risk to his health in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, but disregarded this risk. While the prisoner claimed that he was served spoiled meat, spoiled milk, and inadequately cooked chicken, the evidence supported a finding that the company took measures to make sure that food and milk were safe, including discarding expired milk and old meat. Further, each time the plaintiff complained about a problem, the defendants took measures to attempt to remedy the complained of problems. After the detainee claimed he received undercooked chicken, he was given a replacement meal, and retraining of the kitchen staff took place. McRoy v. Aramark Correctional Services, Inc., No. 06-3922, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 5560 (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.).
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.).
A prison's alleged failure to provide two hot meals a day did not violate a prisoner's constitutional rights. While there is a right to a nutritionally adequate diet, there is no constitutional right to hot meals. Laufgas v. Speziale, No. 06-5062, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 2514 (3rd 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.).
Prisoner failed to provide any supporting evidence for his allegation that he was served tainted food in retaliation of his pursuit of prior litigation, or that his snack food was tampered with. Ali v. Suchocki, No. 06-5160, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 26233 (3rd 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.).
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.
Prisoner did not show that the alleged failure to provide him with a diet prescribed for his hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol created any immediate danger to his health or even that his health suffered at all, and therefore did not establish a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Cody v. CBM Correctional Food Services, No. 06-1474, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 19502 (8th Cir.).
A New York prisoner failed to show that correctional officials violated his due process rights by putting him on a restrictive diet that he claimed aggravated his existing mental health condition, resulting in him suffering a mental breakdown. There was no violation of due process, based on the fact that a medical clearance was given before the diet was implemented. A federal appeals court, however, reinstated the prisoner's Eighth Amendment claim, finding that the trial court used too high a standard, requiring the prisoner to show that correctional officials acted in a sadistic and malicious manner, rather than with deliberate indifference to his health or safety. The prisoner adequately alleged that correctional officials knew about the seriousness of his mental condition, and intentionally used a false charge to impose the restricted diet which caused his breakdown, requiring further proceedings. Guilbert v. Sennet, No. 05-6594, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 13401 (2nd Cir.).
A prisoner who alleged a denial of access to a law library for only a short time failed to show that this denied him a constitutionally protected right of access to the courts, since he did not show how this hindered his litigation efforts. Further, his claim that he was denied access to an inmate grievance procedure did not state a claim for violation of due process, since he had no constitutionally protected right of access to such a grievance procedure. The appeals court also rejected the prisoner's claim that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment because he was fed "nutra-loaf" while placed in isolation for twenty days. Thomas v. Warner, No. 06-10883, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 13265 (11th 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.).
The alleged removal of an inmate's mattress from his cell during the daytime did not violate his Eighth Amendment rights, when he did not claim that he was deprived of the mattress at night during hours that he would sleep. Federal appeals court also rejects argument that serving the plaintiff "food loaf" violated the Eighth Amendment. Further proceedings were ordered, however, on his claim that cold temperatures in his cell constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Alex v. Stalder, No. 05-30982, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 9921 (5th Cir.).
Inmate's claim that he did not receive enough food and had lost nearly 60 pounds since his incarceration did not establish a violation of his civil rights since there was no evidence that his current weight of 190 pounds was detrimental to his health. Jacobs v. Frank, No. 06-3478, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 5980 (7th Cir.).
Prisoner could not pursue his federal civil rights lawsuit complaining that he was improperly served meals without the main course when he also stated that he went on hunger strikes. The prisoner's lawsuit was properly dismissed as frivolous. Ibarra-Villalva v. USP-Allenwood, No. 06-2723, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 487 (3rd 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]
Two prisoners adequately allegedly that they had been harmed by allegedly nutritionally inadequate diets after their previously prescribed medical diets were revoked. Court allows claims for deliberate indifference to continue against prison dietary manager and prison doctor. Orr v. Dawson, No. CV06-53, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 68943 (D. Idaho). [N/R]
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]
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]
Denial of food to prisoner, causing him to lose 45 pounds during a 2-1/2 year period, was the result of his own refusal to obey prison rules concerning receipt of meals, and was not cruel and unusual punishment. Freeman v. Berge, No. 05-2820, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 7194 (7th Cir.). [2006 JB May]
State prison officials did not violate diabetic prisoner's rights by requiring a prison to serve a "heart healthy" diet to all inmates. The prisoner did not show that the diet was medically improper for a diabetic or that the diet was the cause of diabetic complications he allegedly suffered. Baird v. Alameida, No. CV 02-06887, 407 F. Supp. 2d 1134 (C.D. Cal. 2005). [N/R]
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]
Prisoner who stated that he was lactose intolerant and allergic to eggs alleged sufficient facts to present a viable claim that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated by the failure to provide him with a "therapeutic diet," and that the meals provided to him were nutritionally inadequate. Jackson v. Gordon, No. 04-2005, 145 Fed. Appx. 774 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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 officials were not deliberately indifferent to insulin dependent prisoner's need for a proper diet in prescribing a "self-monitored" diabetic diet in which the prisoner was responsible for choosing the proper food, and he was given counseling and education on how to do so. Additionally, substitutes for certain foods for diabetic inmates were made available. Court also rules that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132, and Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 794, and their prohibition on "disability discrimination" did not give the inmate a general federal cause of action for challenging the medical care provided for his insulin dependent diabetes. These statutes provide a basis for challenging discriminatory treatment or denial of benefits on the basis of a disability, and do not provide a basis for challenging the medical treatment of underlying disabilities. Carrion v. Wilkinson, 309 F. Supp. 2d 1007 (N.D. Ohio 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner suffering from diabetes did not show an excessive risk of harm to his health from the inclusion of pork in his prescribed diabetic diet. Doctor only included a reference to a pork-free diet because prisoner requested it and there was no evidence that the inclusion of pork threatened the prisoner's health or that the calories provided were inadequate. Hall-Bey v. Cohn, #02-3731, 86 Fed. Appx. 200 (7th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
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]
Serving a prisoner a sack lunch rather than a hot meal did not violate his rights when the food provided was nutritionally adequate and met his medical and religious needs. Amos v. Simmons, 82 P.3d 859 (Kan. App. 2004). [N/R]
Correctional officers did not violate inmate's Eighth Amendment rights by restraining him for approximately 20 hours on a stretcher. Prisoner had kicked a door and assaulted a correctional officer, and after he was placed on a stretcher, the officers loosened his handcuffs and allowed him "numerous" bathroom breaks, as well as food, liquids, and medications. Action in feeding him a disciplinary diet of "nutra-loaf" was also not an Eighth Amendment violation, despite the prisoner's claim that he experienced adverse effects, including vomiting, burning in his chest and throat, and frequent bowel movements. These effects were not "serious medical conditions," and there was no order or instruction from medical personnel to stop the "nutra-loaf" diet. Myers v. Milbert, 281 F. Supp. 2d 859 (N.D.W.Va. 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]
Inmate's placement on a diet of "nutri-loaf" as a punishment was not cruel and unusual, despite his repeated regurgitation of the food, and his ultimate vomiting of blood. Prison nurse only knew of two instances in four days in which inmate vomited and provided proper medical advice. No hearing was required prior to imposition of a temporary "nutri-loaf" diet, since it was not an "atypical and significant hardship" in relation to the "ordinary incidents of prison life." Gates v. Huibregtse, No. 02-2887, 69 Fed. Appx. 326 (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]
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]
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.]
Placing a prisoner on a restricted "food loaf" diet after he was disciplined for his sexual misconduct of masturbating with butter did not violate his due process rights. "Food loaf" had been shown to meet nutritional and caloric requirements for human beings and prisoner's argument that it caused his hemorrhoids to bleed days after the restriction expired was mere "speculation." Griffis v. Gundy, #02-1449, 47 Fed. Appx. 327 (6th Cir. 2002). [2003 JB Jan]
Court rejects prisoner's claim that prison violated his rights by failing to feed him a diet in accord with his religious belief that he should only eat "starchless and green, leafy vegetables" when his own attached list of foods he should eat included some foods that did not constitute "starchless and green, leafy vegetables," including an assortment of legumes and beans and white potatoes. Rhone v. Lewis, #36,210-CA, 821 So. 2d 692 (La. App. 2nd 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]
Putting prisoners on "controlled-feeding status" as discipline for disruptive conduct such as throwing food or utensils did not violate inmate rights under Illinois or federal law. Arnett v. Snyder, 2001 Ill. App. LEXIS 819 (4th Dist.). [2002 JB Feb]
Prisoner's claim that he was negligently served a meal in custody that contained a grasshopper did not state a viable claim under Ohio law, since he did not claim that any exception to a state statute providing immunity for governmental functions applied. Blackwell v. Patten, No. C100-5364, 767 N.E.2d 310 (Ohio Com. Pl. 2001). [N/R]
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
278:21 Texas prisoner's claim that being denied eight meals and one visitation session over a seven-month period was "cruel and unusual punishment" was frivolous; prisoner did not show that he received an inadequate diet that threatened his health and he had no constitutional right to visitation. Berry v. Brady, #98-41179, 192 F.3d 504 (5th 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).
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).
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).
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).
261:131 Requirement that prisoners being served meals in their cells during lockdown kneel and place their hands behind their backs before food was provided was reasonably designed to protect the safety of officers; withholding of approximately 50 meals over five month period when prisoner refused to comply did not violate his rights. Talib v. Gilley, 138 F.3d 211 (5th Cir. 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.
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).
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).
266:19 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).
268:51 Medical personnel did not engage in deliberate indifference to medical needs of HIV positive prisoner when they refused to provide him with a specific name-brand dietary supplement he preferred to the daily dietary supplement snack he was given. Polanco v. Dworzack, 25 F.Supp.2d 148 (W.D.N.Y. 1998).
[N/R] Placing prisoner on restricted diet of "Nutriloaf" and raw cabbage, and in cell with plexiglass shield, did not violate prisoner's rights; diet was nutritionally adequate and steps where taken in good faith effort to maintain discipline after prisoner threw feces at prison employee. Breazil v. Bartlett, 998 F.Supp. 236 (W.D.N.Y. 1997).
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).
253:3 Occasional presence of rodents near prison food supply was insufficient basis to impose liability for violation of Eighth Amendment rights; prison took steps to exterminate pests. Tucker v. Rose, 955 F.Supp. 810 (N.D. Ohio 1997).
256:52 Appeals court could not rule out possibility that imposition of a seven day bread diet constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Phelps v. Kapnolas, 123 F.3d 91 (2nd Cir. 1997).
251:164 Providing prisoners in disciplinary segregation with cold "bag lunches" rather than hot prison meals served to general population might have, arguably, violated Wisconsin state administrative regulations, but did not violate prisoners' constitutional rights. Kirsch v. Endicott, 549 N.W.2d 761 (Wis. App. 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).
247:101 Disciplinary diet imposed on prisoner did not raise any federal constitutional claim as long as it was adequate to maintain health; prison food "need not be tasty or aesthetically pleasing." Stewart v. Block, 938 F.Supp. 582 (C.D.Ca. 1996).
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).
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).
223:100 Dietician's alleged failure to provide diabetic prisoner with medically recommended diet after prisoner complained stated claim for violation of prisoner's Eighth Amendment rights. Taylor v. Anderson, 868 F.Supp. 1024 (N.D. Ill. 1994).
224:116 Serving of cold food, standing alone, does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Prophete v. Gilless, 869 F.Supp. 537 (W.D. Tenn. 1994).
Feeding a prisoner "nutri-loaf" did not constitute a violation of his religious freedom when he never told prison authorities he wanted a vegetarian diet for religious reasons, but only that he did not want to eat meat. Rayes v. Eggars, 838 F.Supp. 1372 (D. Neb. 1993).
Prisoner's claim that he received only two meals a day on weekends and holidays, even if true, did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. White v. Gregory, 1 F.3d 267 (4th Cir. 1993).
Discovery of a dead mouse in a fellow inmate's meal did not inflict cruel and unusual punishment on a prisoner; deprivation of morning coffee for all prisoners in segregation did not violate equal protection of law. Miles v. Konvalenka, 791 F.Supp. 212 (N.D. Ill. 1992).
Serving a maggot contaminated meal and serving food for several weeks under allegedly unsanitary conditions did not violate inmate's constitutional rights. Islam v. Jackson, 782 F.Supp. 1111 (E.D. Va. 1992).
Providing two, rather than three, meals per day, with an 19 hour interval between dinner and "brunch", did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment; meal service manual provision that prisoners would receive three meals a day did not create a constitutionally protected interest. Gardner v. Beale, 780 F.Supp. 1073 (E.D. Va. 1991).
Five-day disciplinary "nutra-loaf" diet was not cruel and unusual punishment, nor was manner in which "nutra-loaf" was served: being dropped on floor of cell without eating utensils or tray. Adams v. Kincheloe, 743 F.Supp. 1385 & 1393 (E.D. Wash. 1990).
Placing inmates on "controlled feeding status," eating "nutra-loaf," is not cruel and unusual punishment. Smith v. Dept. of Corrections, 792 P.2d 109 (Or. App. 1990).
Inmate had no liberty interest in receiving a "non- sacked" meal. Burgin v. Nix, 899 F.2d 733 (8th Cir. 1990).
Prisoners had no liberty interest in remaining on the "diet line" in prison cafeteria. Dixon v. Fox, 893 F.2d 1556 (8th Cir. 1990).
Inmate's weight loss of 2-3 pounds during one-month confinement did not show dietary deprivation constituting cruel and unusual punishment. Sivak v. Ada Co., 769 P.2d 1131 (Idaho App. 1989).