Priddy v. Garman (W.D.Va. 2012): Prisoner Challenges Muslim Group Prayers

Plaintiff Joey Kenneth Priddy, a Virginia inmate, filed this civil rights action alleging that the Respondents, various prison officials at Bland Correctional Center, violated his constitutional rights by allowing Muslim inmates to conduct prayer groups in common areas of the prison facility. The Plaintiff sought preliminary and permanent injunctive relief. The District Court dismissed the Plaintiff’s complaint, determining that the challenged prison practices did not deprive the Plaintiff of his constitutional rights. The District Court found that there was no violation of the Establishment Clause, because the prison officials allowed Muslim inmates to conduct informal prayer groups in common areas, but that this opportunity is equally open to any inmate of any other religious persuasion. Therefore, the accommodation of Muslim inmates’ beliefs did not constitute an improper endorsement of Islam over other religions.

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