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Do convicted criminals have the right to demand that their religious requirements be met?


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Showing 1-25 of 49 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Feb 2013 09:18:45 GMT
Spin says:
It has recently been discovered that the meals of muslim prisoners contained pork (as did the food of all non-muslim prisoners) and apparently this contrevenes the law that allows a prisoners dietary requirements to be met. Which is fair enough. But if that requirement is based on a religious observance, and not a physical or mental necessity, and given that a prisoner is in jail because he/she broke the law and infringed on the rights of others, is this law ensuring religious requirements are met just and right? It is a complex issue, to be sure,

Posted on 4 Feb 2013 09:38:46 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2013 09:38:59 GMT
If there is an affordable substitute then I would say yes, you can disagree with religions as much as you like but then it all boils down to someones beliefs. Now there is a complex argument here in that some people believe that prisoners forfeit any rights they have when they infringe on anothers rights

I don't really know, for me personally if there is an affordable substitute then I would be fine with it

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 09:59:13 GMT
Spin says:
Stephen. Indeed. The question involves a mixture of politics, morality and religion. I am aware of the political responses, so I am tending to question the moral, ethical and religious aspects. In my opinion, the "right" depends on the nature of the crime that was commited. To be imprisoned is to have ones freedoms removed, icluding the freedom to practice ones religion if that religion was the cause of ones criminal activity. Now, there are charitable religious groups who visit prisoners. This is not because the prisoners are ill-treated but because religion is considered a means to perhaps pascify a criminal, to bring him/her back on the straight and narrow. But I do not think a prisoner, within the prison, has an automatic right to demand religious requirements. Do female muslim prisoners have the right to wear the burkha, and demand that female gaurds wear one, in front of male gaurds? Lastly, religion in a prison segragates prisoners. A muslom prisoner will hang out with other muslims as they do in society, and this does not aid rehabilitation.

Posted on 4 Feb 2013 11:08:42 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2013 12:19:08 GMT
Dan Fante says:
I don't have a problem with prisoners' dietary requirements being respected but the only reason I'm really sorry this has happened is because it'll inevitably lead to costly litigation, paid for by the taxpayer, as prisoners sue for having their human rights infringed or whatever. Other than that I couldn't give a monkey's. (Sorry to go all Daily Mail but you just know this'll lead to legal action).

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 11:12:18 GMT
G. Heron says:
Spin,

I don't have a problem with religious dietary requirements being met in prison. Prison punishes people be removing their freedom. If additional suffering was caused to religious people be denying them their dietary 'requirements' then this would be an additional punishment no inflicted on atheists.

Posted on 4 Feb 2013 11:36:28 GMT
If your religious beliefs are of import while in jail can you then refuse to share a cell with a homosexual, a non-believer etc

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 11:39:40 GMT
No, but you can refuse to eat them!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 11:59:14 GMT
Dan Fante says:
Depends how big they are.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 12:01:37 GMT
Ian says:
Can the homosexual and the unbeliever refuse to share a cell with a person whose beliefs makes them want to refuse to share a cell with them?

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 12:07:02 GMT
Can the homosexual and the unbeliever refuse to go to prison?

Aren't we all getting a bit silly - if prisoners' demands were always met, then what is the point of prison (personally I am not a fan of them, anyway).

There is sensible and there is stupid with prisoner's needs - dietary requirements ought to be catered for (no pun intended), and others should be given due consideration (do Islamic prisoners have to stop to do the bowing down to Mecca, or whatever it is they do five times a day?)

Of more interest is whether fasting requirements are catered for in prisons - where food cannot be eaten until a certain time.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 13:56:59 GMT
P. Sotto says:
It's not really complex in my opinion, if it is requirement based on mental or physical necessity why does it become a problem with religious observance?

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 14:42:33 GMT
Spin says:
G; But can a religious belief be considered a "dietary requirement"? Secondly, how can a prisoner convicted precisely because of those religious beliefs be allowed to continue with them in prison? A prisoner who denied religious rights to others in society can hardly be allowed to maintain those same rights as a convicted felon? Lastly, would you consider the removal of religious freedoms to a prisoner to constitute "torture"? I would not.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 14:49:25 GMT
Spin says:
P: Because religious belief is not a physical or mental necessity. (Except perhaps to extremists, who are so devoted to the literal word of the faiths that it affects thier psychological state. But these folk are mentally disturbed anyway, which is why they are in prison. They should, in fact, be held in mental health establishments as all dangerously disturbed criminals are. They are in prison only because they are considered to be "rational" despite thier odd belief that violence is the expression of religion.

Posted on 4 Feb 2013 15:05:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2013 15:06:30 GMT
Dan Fante says:
Spin, what changes, if any, would you propose in relation to Muslims' dietary requirements being met while they are interred in UK prisons? Because I'm struggling to grasp your point here.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 15:14:41 GMT
Spin says:
Dan: I am obviously suggesting changing the law that gives a prisoner the freedom to express his/her religion within the prison population. If he/she wants to worship in the privacy of his own cell, fair enough, but in the general prison population he/she has no right, as a convicted prisoner, to demand special treatment. Are we to allow drugs in our prisons on the basis that a prisoner claims to be a Rastafarian?

Posted on 4 Feb 2013 15:18:40 GMT
That just reminded me, I remember reading a few years ago about a heroin addict who sued the prison service because he was forced to quit cold turkey while inside, no idea if he won or not, anyone remember the case/outcome?

Posted on 4 Feb 2013 15:22:26 GMT
Ah that's a fair point as well Spin, I guess I could join a religion that involves hookers, getting drunk and playing poker all night. Get arrested and then it's a free ride from then on out

The prison system at the minute is a running joke anyway, with ridiculous reoffending rates it's almost insulting to think their purpose is supposed to be rehabilitation

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 15:29:35 GMT
Dan Fante says:
A better comparison would be that a Rastafarian would have the option to be a vegetarian/vegan (as many are), which I have no problem with. I asked a specific question about prisoners' diets though. What changes would you make? Make them eat pork etc.? Seems like a pointless, petty thing to do which would create a lot of hassle without solving any of the problems in our prisons. Of course, I'm not sure you are proposing that because you didn't answer my question.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 15:44:53 GMT
G. Heron says:
Spin,

" Are we to allow drugs in our prisons on the basis that a prisoner claims to be a Rastafarian?"

No because they don't have that right outside prison.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 15:46:37 GMT
Dan Fante says:
Good point.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 15:52:58 GMT
Spin says:
DAn: Fortunately, I have no idea what prison food is like so I cannot comment on any changes, if any, that are needed to ensure the physical welfare of prisoners. The governmental body that does take up the task of monitering dietary requirements of prisoners, found pork in "halal" meals. It also found horsemeat in the products sold by supermarkets. Now, a free man can object to being lied to as to what is in the food he buys. But can a prisoner complain about his food on the basis of his religion? Prison is, by definition, a place where one is removed from society. Bringing society and its lifestyles into a prison diminishes the whole point of having prisons. Justice and punishment should be complete, not conditional.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 15:55:29 GMT
Spin says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 16:03:18 GMT
Spin says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 16:03:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2013 16:11:22 GMT
Dan Fante says:
You can, however, express an opinion on whether you think certain dietary requests should be met without knowing exactly what the food in prison is like. Which (for the sake of clarity) is what I was asking for.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 19:21:33 GMT
Spin says:
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  12
Total posts:  49
Initial post:  4 Feb 2013
Latest post:  15 Feb 2013

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