Inmates' Religious Rights Law Upheld

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 31, 2005 ( The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a federal law requiring state prisons to accommodate inmates’ religions, including witchcraft and Satanism.

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Justices today sided 9-0 with Ohio inmates who had claimed they were denied access to religious literature, ceremonial items and time to worship.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act is not an unconstitutional government promotion of religion.

The 2000 law requires states that receive federal money to accommodate prisoners’ religious beliefs unless wardens can show that the accommodation would be disruptive.

Foes of the statute had argued that inmate requests for special diets or religious symbols could make management of prisons more difficult.

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