Jackson v. Dep’t of Corr. (Mass. Super. Ct. 2006): Prison Pat-Downs

Plaintiffs, Muslim prisoners, sued the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, alleging violations of state and federal law, including the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, § 1983, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). Plaintiffs alleged that being patted down by female prison guards violated their First Amendment free exercise rights inasmuch as it contravened the tenets of their Islamic faith, which forbids intimate contact between unrelated members of the opposite gender. The Court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment for most of the claims, but denied it with respect to the RLUIPA and the Massachusetts General Law claims, concluding that a jury would best be able to determine whether the alleged infraction violated the terms of these two statutes.

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