The Prison Religion Project serves as a bridge to greater understanding in this important intersection of religious pluralism, prisoner rights, and public policy.
Why a Prison Religion Project?
The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) requires, among other things, federal and state correctional authorities to accommodate religion in prisons in a way that does not substantially burden inmates’ religious practice. Federal correctional authorities are also subject to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA). However, the application of these requirements has resulted in much uncertainty in many jurisdictions and even resistance in some. The Prison Religion Project strives to address these issues by providing educational materials and a forum for inclusive discussion about accommodation of religious diversity in prisons.
The Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism and the American Academy of Religion co-sponsor sessions for prison chaplaincy directors. AAR scholars of religions represented in prisons share their expertise in informal dialogue sessions, and updates on prison religion and the law are provided.
Comparative Religion and Correctional Institution Public Policy
The project involves the development of suggested prison religion policies on such topics as chaplaincy, resource allocation, and accommodation of diverse religions in prisons. The project addresses the question: How can prison religion policies be neutral, fair, and unbiased, thus respecting religious diversity, while also taking account of security, safety, and limited resources?