Prisoner free exercise cases – October 26, 2015

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Barnes v. Furman, (2d Cir., Oct. 22, 2015), the 2nd Circuit upheld a prison’s prior policy of limiting kosher meals to Jewish inmates (and denying them to Hebrew Israelites) and dismissed as moot a complaint regarding seizure of an inmate’s religious head covering because he had now changed his religious designation to Protestant.  At the time, the head covering he wore (a Tsalot‐
Kob) was limited by prison rules to Rastafarians.

In King v. Barr, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141454 (WD VA, Oct. 19, 2015), a Virginia federal district court held that a Muslim inmate failed to show that jail officials denied his classification to Phase III privileges because of his beard.

In Jones v. Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142142 (WD VA, Oct. 20, 2015), a Virginia federal district court dismissed a Muslim inmate’s complaint that authorities refused to provide vegan Ramadan meals.

In Burroughs v. Petrone, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142732 ND NY, Oct. 15, 2015), a New York federal district court dismissed a Muslim inmate’s vague complaints regarding removal from the religious service call-out sheet, confiscation of religious material, substitution of a Bible for the Qur’an and discarding of religious food.