Should the Supreme Court limit the ability of prisoners to seek redress for violation of religious rules?Should the Supreme Court limit the ability of prisoners to seek redress for violation of...

Should the Supreme Court limit the ability of prisoners to seek redress for violation of religious rules?

Should the Supreme Court limit the ability of prisoners to seek redress for violation of religious rules?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I assume you are considering the Muslim situation, perhaps at Guantanamo Bay. Religious freedom is important. However, a prisoner gives up some rights. I would say that you have to balance the imposition of the system, including the other prisoners, and security. If a prisoner's religious freedom causes a legitimate threat to security, then it should not be allowed.
brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I would argue that the Supreme Court should not limit legal redress in this matter.  Since we are talking about two fundamental rights, that of Freedom of Religion in the 1st Amendment, and that of Due Process in the 14th Amendment.  Each court would determine if the opportunity for the prisoner to observe religious customs is reasonable or not, so there is still a limit on what said prisoners can ask for.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The right to practise a religion of our own choosing is one that should be enshrined and protected. As #2 states, the potential benefits of having prisoners embrace and actively pursue a religion, whatever the religion is, during their time in prison can be incredibly beneficial in terms of their rehabilitation and to help them process what they have done and how they intend to live their lives on their release. This is not something therefore that should be prevented.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I agree with the first post that this question needs more detail.

The Court has ruled that in general, there needs to be a compelling state interest in order for a prison to curtail the religious rights of prisoners.  But the Court signalled that it would be open to accepting arguments that showed how/why certain restrictions were being done for a compelling reason.  So, unless you can give us a specific case or type of redress that is being sought, we really cannot give you a better answer than this.

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that more context is needed in answering this question.  If the question is about the general state of the religious rights of prisoners, I would say that the court should not limit the ability of prisoners to seek redress for violation of religious practices.  I think that if there is anything as considered sacred for prisoners, the right to religious expression is fairly close to it.  The prisoner who embraces an active spiritual force during their incarceration should be protected from violation of religious rules. It serves the benefit of both the prisoner and society if the penal system encourages spiritual discovery and does what it can to ensure that the inmate feels that this avenue is as unfettered as possible.  Part of this is actively prosecuting the violation of an inmate's religious practice.  Again, not knowing the specific context of the case or situation precludes a more detailed and intricate answer.  Yet, in the setting provided, I would say that the court should encourage as much as possible the advance of religious worship, and seeking redress for violation of religious rules is a part of this process.

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