ACLU-DE Cooperating Attorney Gary W. Aber recently began representing a Muslim inmate at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in a case seeking to compel the Department of Correction to provide Halal meat to Muslim inmates in the prison.
A federal statute, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, prohibits prison authorities from imposing a substantial burden on an inmate’s religious exercise, except in very limited circumstances.
The administration of the women’s prison, which had provided kosher meat to a few Jewish inmates, failed to provide Halal meat to the Muslim inmate. Our client brought suit to compel it to do so.
Initially, she represented herself, and was successful in resisting a motion to dismiss that the defendants filed and in getting the case to the point where the Department of Correction told the court it was considering settlement.
But DOC never made a settlement proposal. As a result, she asked for ACLU-DE help, and we are providing her with counsel. With our involvement, the case, Fayson v. Chaplain Earle, is now in the pretrial information gathering phase.