Muslim inmates granted more religious freedomon October 24, 2012 @ 12:20 pm (Updated: 12:32 pm - 10/24/12 )
The American Civil Liberties Union announced a settlement with the county that will allow inmates of all faiths to be accommodated while behind bars at the facility.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma in Sept. 2010 on behalf of a Muslim inmate who felt Christians were given preferential treatment by jail staff.
"The settlement recognizes that jail officials cannot arbitrarily favor certain religions over others, or restrict an inmate's religious exercise without out a compelling reason," said attorney Hank Balson with the Public Interest Law Group. "It fulfills the intent of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which Congress passed in 2000 to ensure that prisoners of all faiths could continue to practice their religion while incarcerated."
Under the settlement, prayer rugs will be available for purchase from commissary. The jail will also allow Muslim inmates to wear kufis and to modify their dress to comply with their religion.
They will also be given food accommodations.
"They'll get halal meals, which are the equivalent to kosher meals that are being provided to Jewish inmates," said Doug Honig with ACLU-WA.
As part of the agreement, the jail has also closed the "Responsible Living Unit," or so-called "God Pod," where Christian inmates participated in Bible study.
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