Can a jail deny an inmatehis Bible?

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a jail deny an inmatehis Bible?

I have a friend who jumped bond earlier this year. He has turned himself in but the jail has denied him his paperback Bible. Is this legal? Charges were theft under $500.

Asked on June 21, 2011 under Personal Injury, Tennessee


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

He has a potential claim for a violation of his first amendment rights to freedom of relifion. Even though rights can be taken away from prisoners, the courts have ruled there is no reason for religious scriptures (e.g. bibles) to be kept from prisoners. Particularly if no safety issue is present, as in the case of a paperback book.
Additionally,  jails and prisons which accept federal prisoners place are subject to a federal law known as the Religious Land Use of Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA").  The act provides for the protections of religious rights unless the jail or prison can establish a compelling state interest in the denial; additionally the manner of denial must be the least restrictive means possible to meet the compelling state interest.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption