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Case Name Carr v. Samuels PC-IN-0018
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-00001-WTL-WGH ( S.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On January 3, 2013, Muslim prisoners filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiffs sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons for failing to provide certified halal meals to the prisoners. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs alleged that the ... read more >
On January 3, 2013, Muslim prisoners filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiffs sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons for failing to provide certified halal meals to the prisoners. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs alleged that the failure to provide a halal-certified diet was a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and a violation of the Equal Protection Guarantee under the Fifth Amendment. This action was brought pursuant to RFRA, 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000bb-1(c).

The prisoners' Religious Diet Program provided kosher meals, however the meat in kosher meals was not slaughtered according to Islamic law, and furthermore had the tendency to be contaminated by alcohol and other product forbidden under Islamic law. Prisoners were also offered a "no-pork" or "no-flesh" alternative meal plan, however these too were susceptible to contamination by products forbidden under Islamic law. Prisoners had the option of purchasing food through the Commissary, however there were very few halal-certified products, and prisoners were unable to afford such products. As a result, the prisoners had to violate their religion in order to survive.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons' Religious Diet Program originated in a 1980 lawsuit filed by Muslim inmates seeking access to halal meals. In response to that suit, in 1984 the BOP voluntarily instituted the Modified Common Fare Religious Diet Program, which would be free of pork and pork derivatives, free of contamination, and would include at least three hot entrees a week to accommodate the religious diet needs of the Muslim and Jewish inmates. Al Shakir v. Carlson, 605 F. Supp. 374, 375 (M.D. Penn. 1984). Although some halal meals were served at different facilities after 1984, at some point the Federal Bureau of Prisons abandoned the Modified Common Fare Religious Diet Program in favor of a Religious Diet Program called the Certified Processed Foods Program, which consisted of individual sealed trays of pre-prepared kosher-certified meals. The Religious Diet Program meals were not certified as halal.

The plaintiffs allege that the defendant's failure to provide the plaintiffs with meals that conformed to their religious beliefs placed a substantial burden on their religious exercise, a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which did not further a compelling government interest. The plaintiffs also alleged that the defendant's failure to provide them with halal meals violated the Equal Protection clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The plaintiffs ask for declaratory relief and an injunction requiring that the defendant provide the plaintiffs with a halal-certified diet that conformed to their religious beliefs. They also asked for attorney's fees.

As of February 22, 2016, the parties were in the middle of discovery, which would conclude in September 2016.

Rachel June-Graber - 02/22/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Conditions of confinement
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Religious programs / policies
Unconstitutional conditions of confinement
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Defendant(s) United States Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description Muslim prisoners in the federal prison system.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
2:14-cv-00001-WTL-WGH (S.D. Ind.) 02/05/2016
PC-IN-0018-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 01/03/2014
PC-IN-0018-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief and Attorneys' Fees 06/13/2014
PC-IN-0018-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Dinsmore, Mark. J. (S.D. Ind.) [Magistrate]
PC-IN-0018-9000
Hussmann, William G. Jr. (S.D. Ind.) [Magistrate]
PC-IN-0018-9000
Lawrence, William T. (S.D. Ind.) [Magistrate]
PC-IN-0018-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Garcia, Bradley N. (District of Columbia)
PC-IN-0018-9000
Hammack, Scott M. (New York)
PC-IN-0018-9000
Leviss, David J. (District of Columbia)
PC-IN-0018-0001 | PC-IN-0018-0002 | PC-IN-0018-9000
Love, Lindsey R. (District of Columbia)
PC-IN-0018-9000
Meals, Darcy M. (District of Columbia)
PC-IN-0018-9000
Thorn, Jessica L. (District of Columbia)
PC-IN-0018-9000
Zaslavsky, Sergei (District of Columbia)
PC-IN-0018-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Kieper, Thomas E (Indiana)
PC-IN-0018-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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