Tenth Circuit Issues Prison Sweat Lodge Decision; Religious Freedom Upheld

Here are the materials in Yellowbear v. Lampert:

Yellowbear Brief

Yellowbear Supplemental Brief

Wyoming Brief

Yellowbear Reply

CA10 Opinion

An excerpt:

Andrew Yellowbear will probably spend the rest of his life in prison. Time he must serve for murdering his daughter. With that much lying behind and still before him, Mr. Yellowbear has found sustenance in his faith. No one doubts the sincerity of his religious beliefs or that they are the reason he seeks access to his prison’s sweat lodge — a house of prayer and meditation the prison has supplied for those who share his Native American religious tradition. Yet the prison refuses to open the doors of that sweat lodge to Mr. Yellowbear alone, and so we have this litigation. While those convicted of crime in our society lawfully forfeit a great many civil liberties, Congress has (repeatedly) instructed that the sincere exercise of religion should not be among them — at least in the absence of  a compelling reason. In this record we can find no reason like that.

 

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