Crump v. Winn (E.D. Pa 2012): Prison Religious Accommodation for Prayer Times

Plaintiff Horace Crump, an inmate in the Michigan Department of Corrections, brought this compliant against the Respondent, Deputy Warden Winn at the Saginaw Correctional Facility, for changing the Muslim prayer time. Specifically, the Plaintiff alleged that the Respondent changed the Muslim prayer time in such a way as to place a substantial burden on the Plaintiff’s free exercise of his religion, and that this was done in retaliation for having complained about his and other Muslim inmates’ complaints during Ramadan. The Respondent filed a motion for summary judgment, and the case was referred for a report and recommendation by a magistrate judge. The magistrate judge determined that the Plaintiff did not suffer a substantial burden, because while the Respondent did not offer a specific penological justification for changing the prayer time, the prison immediately reinstated the religiously required Friday prayer time, such that the Plaintiff did not in fact suffer a “substantial burden” on the practice of his religion. The magistrate judge then found that the fact that the Plaintiff did not suffer a substantial burden on the practice of his religion also showed that he did not suffer adverse action, a necessary element of his retaliation claim. For these reasons, the magistrate judge recommended that the Respondent’s motion for summary judgment be granted, and that the complaint be dismissed with prejudice.

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