Editorial: Prisoners Should Retain Religious Rights

July 25, 2004

Source: The First Amendment Center


On July 25, 2004 The First Amendment Center reported, "Disputes over the denial of kosher meals have flared up in a number of states, including Virginia, where an inmate filed a lawsuit in April. Keeping kosher in prison is just one of many religious-freedom claims being raised by prisoners throughout the nation. The cases cover the religious waterfront from the Taoist denied access to his scriptures to the Muslim restricted from using prayer oil... [The question is however]: Should people convicted of a crime have a right to religious freedom while in prison? [The] answer is 'yes,' mostly for two reasons. First, religious freedom isn’t a right given by the government — and it can’t be taken away by the government... Second, it’s generally good for society to encourage inmates to observe their faith."