Court Rules All Inmates Can Practice Faith, In Any Form


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that satanists and witches are entitled to the same right to practice their religion in prison as inmates with mainstream religious beliefs, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. The court’s unanimous decision upheld a federal law that requires states to accommodate religious activity in prisons, unless wardens can prove that activity is disruptive or creates a security risk. The dispute over the law arose in Ohio when about 60 prisoners claimed prison officials refused to let them worship in groups and denied them access to religious symbols, religious literature and, in one case, a Satanic bible.

Prison officials had argued the law unconstitutionally promotes religion by giving religous inmates greater rights than nonreligious inmates. They also claimed that honoring the inmates’ requests would make it more difficult to operate prisons and could endanger prison personnel and other inmates. But the Supreme Court disagreed, declaring that the law “confers no privileged status on any particular religious sect” and would not, if applied reasonably, create security problems in prisons.


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