Judges Uphold Law on Inmate Religion December 30, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination.
In a ruling favorable to an inmate who sued after a Virginia prison denied his request for kosher meals, a federal appeals court on Friday upheld a federal law that protects the religious rights of incarcerated people.
The state of Virginia had challenged the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act after inmate Ira Madison complained in a 2001 lawsuit that prison officials were violating the act by denying him a kosher diet.
Virginia argued that Congress had exceeded its authority by tying compliance with the act to federal funding for prisons.
But the appellate judges rejected that argument, saying the law does not force states to change prison policies.
“Because Virginia voluntarily accepted federal correctional funds, it cannot avoid the substantive requirements of RLUIPA,” Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of wrote Friday.