Even in jail the free exercise of religion is protected for all faiths. Numerous cases about inmates asserting their exercise of religion from their cells are received each week, some with more merit than others. However, no matter the circumstance, the right to freely practice and exercise religion is protected, even from a jail cell. Learn more: FirstLiberty.org/Briefing
Each week, I get an email with a list of cases about prisoners asserting their right to the free exercise of religion. I find it fascinating that, even in jail, we protect religious liberty. Here’s just a sampling of the cases I see each week.
In Nunez v. Wertz, a Pennsylvania federal court allowed a complaint by a Muslim inmate to move forward after his complaint asserted that he had been denied the right to wear his pant legs rolled up, except during his religious services.
In Illinois, a federal court allowed an inmate to move forward with his assertion that the prison was not providing him with a diet consistent with his Native American religious beliefs.
In Gambino v. Payne, a magistrate recommended dismissing the case of an inmate converting to Judaism. Apparently, the free exercise clause was not sufficient to protect against his complaint of inadequate privacy in the showers.
Finally, a catholic inmate in California is allowed to amend his complaint, but the court dismissed his original complaint. Evidently, the court was not inclined to let him leave confinement to attend a funeral.
Some cases appear to have less merit than others. Inmates sometimes have little else to do but file lawsuits. Nonetheless, judges take complaints of the denial of religious liberty seriously—even if that denial comes from a jail cell.