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Spates Kamesha & Michael D. Royster

In: Corrections

Chapter 18: Religious Rights

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Religious Rights
Religious rights

Key issues that pertain to the constitutional rights of incarcerated individuals have emerged over the last few decades. Recent attention to prisoners' constitutional rights has incited interesting debates, with religious rights at the forefront of these discussions.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution stipulates legal protection of religion and religious exercise to all U.S. citizens. Accordingly, the First Amendment prohibits Congress from adopting laws that will inhibit freedom of religious exercises and practices. However, until the mid-20th century, there was very little constitutional protection of religious rights for the incarcerated. Traditionally, only limited religious rights were extended, and only the mainstream Christian doctrines, Catholics and Protestants, were accommodated. Now, religious rights within the penal system parallel those typically practiced in the outside ...

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