Texas Judge Supports Muslim Inmates Rights
The Texas department of corrections intentionally created a policy which would make it impossible for Muslims to benefit from religious activities in contrast to the Christian inmates. Judge Kenneth Hayt of Texas called this unconstitutional and ordered the department of corrections to change their policy. FrontPage Magazine ran the story:
The Texas prison system is violating the rights of Muslim inmates with rules that make it all but impossible for them to freely practice their religion, a federal judge has ruled. In the ruling made public Thursday, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt, said there are not enough Muslims in Texas, especially in rural areas, to meet the prison system’s criteria for Muslim inmates to hold services and conduct related activities.
By contrast, he said, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice illegally favors Christian inmates because there are ample civilians and chaplains of that faith in the state to conduct services in prisons. “The TDCJ knowingly adopted a policy it knew would impose requirements on Muslim inmates’ religious services that could not be satisfied by volunteers or overcome by Muslim inmates,” Hoyt said.
Hoyt’s ruling requires the state to return to the 1977 agreement, which allows inmates more than an hour of religious activities and to have services without a prison clergy or civilian religious supervisor present.
Ed Mallett, a Houston attorney who represented inmates in the case for decades, said Hoyt’s ruling was a victory for anyone who believes religion helps wrongdoers turn around their lives.
“I have never found anyone who committed a violent crime while he was praying on his knees,” Mallett said. “I have never found anyone to commit a violent crime while sitting to be instructed in the word of our Lord or standing in praise.”
Of the state’s 151,139 inmates, 6,775 expressed a preference for the Muslim religion, according to statistics in the judge’s order. That compares with 88,504 who have expressed a preference for the Protestant faith and 31,432 for the Catholic faith.