- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

PERU, Ind. (AP) - Native American inmates are being allowed to resume religious ceremonies at a northern Indiana prison after a federal lawsuit was filed over the issue.

The Miami Correctional Facility banned Native American services last year because the group lacked the required outside volunteers to lead the services, officials said.

The Department of Correction agreed after a court hearing on the lawsuit last week to reinstate worship ceremonies at the prison, the Kokomo Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/PQSCFY ).

Officials at the prison near the city of Peru said it will have a chaplain who assists with Native American worship and study at the Pendelton Correctional Facility help resume the ceremonies.

The ACLU of Indiana filed the lawsuit on behalf of inmate Daniel Littlepage, arguing the prison was violating his constitutional religious rights.

“We’re happy that it turned out this way,” said Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana. “Mr. Littlepage is obviously very happy, too, to see that services will be starting again.”

About 40 inmates have participated in Native American worship and study at the prison, according to the lawsuit.

The state attorney general’s office argued in court documents that the Native American ceremonies gave inmates from different prison sections an opportunity to gather without supervision, threatening security.

The ceremonies that are being reinstated include those such as the sacred circle, where prayers are offered by the community, and smudging, which incorporates burning herbs. The prison has agreed to seek a long-term facilitator or volunteer to meet with prisoners and assist with services.


Information from: Kokomo Tribune, https://www.ktonline.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide