In 1977, Muslim inmates of the Delaware Correctional Center filed a pro se suit in the District of Delaware against prison officials. The plaintiffs alleged violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that the food service policies and treatment by the ...
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In 1977, Muslim inmates of the Delaware Correctional Center filed a pro se suit in the District of Delaware against prison officials. The plaintiffs alleged violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that the food service policies and treatment by the staff violated their right to free expression of religion, because the dietary restrictions required by their Muslim observance were not being accommodated.
Shortly after the complaint was filed in August 1977, the District Court (Judge Walter Stapleton) partially granted plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction requiring defendants to assign one of the plaintiffs to work in the food preparation area and monitor the ingredients and procedures. It was at this time that the plaintiffs amended their complaint to include allegations of retaliatory treatment by the staff responding to plaintiffs' religiously inspired name changes.
After entry of the preliminary injunction, the case went to trial. Judge Stapleton held that the defendants had violated the plaintiffs' rights to free expression by failing to provide a pork-free diet and by prohibiting the plaintiffs' use of Muslim names. Muhammad v. Keve, 479 F. Supp. 1311 (D. Del. 1979). Judge Stapleton issued an injunction that assured plaintiffs' access to information regarding pork content in their food, delivery of mail addressed to their Muslim names, and freedom from punishment resulting from failure to acknowledge plaintiffs' non-Muslim names. In addition, each plaintiff was awarded judgment against Superintendent Redman in his favor in the amount of one dollar.
The docket indicates some attempt at enforcement by several inmates in the late 1990s. The inmate who filed the motion to enforce was among the plaintiffs who settled the case with the correctional center instead of going to the court. The court thus concluded the inmate did not have standing. Moreover, the court concluded the correctional center generally has complied with the court order to address the food and name issue. John Maksymonko - 07/22/2005