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OH DOC Not Required to Take Prisoners Outside of Prison for Religious Rites

Ralf Beasley, an Ohio state prisoner, wanted to convert to Orthodox Judaism, but to do so he would have to visit an outside synagogue to receive a ritual bath called a Mikvah. When prison officials refused to accommodate his request Beasley sued in federal district court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that said refusal violated his religious exercise rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc.

On summary judgment, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division, found that security concerns precluded ordering prison officials to take Beasley to an outside synagogue for a Mikvah. This claim was thus dismissed. The district court, however, refused to dismiss another claim raised by Beasley, in which he stated he was being forced to cut his sidelocks and beard in violation of the above authorities. See: Beasley v. Konteh, 433 F.Supp.2d 874 (N.D. Ohio 2006).

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Related legal case

Beasley v. Konteh