Religious Exercise in Prison - A Guide for Prison Officials

16 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2011 Last revised: 15 Nov 2012

See all articles by Trudy Rushforth

Trudy Rushforth

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: February 12, 2011


The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) prohibits any prison receiving federal funds from substantially burdening the religious exercise of its prisoners unless the burden survives strict scrutiny. This paper will discuss specific accommodations that a prisoner might request and propose solutions that will preserve the inmate’s right to free exercise of religion while still maintaining prison security. Specific accommodations discussed will be: dress and grooming accommodations, dietary accommodations, and ceremonial accommodations. This paper can serve as a guide to prison officials when they are faced with an accommodation request.

Keywords: Religion, Prison, RLUIPA, Religious Exercise, Religious Freedom, Religious Accommodation

Suggested Citation

Rushforth, Trudy, Religious Exercise in Prison - A Guide for Prison Officials (February 12, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Trudy Rushforth (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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