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First Amendment and Religious Expression
Even while they are in prison or jail, prisoners retain many of their rights under the First Amendment. These rights are typically subject to restrictions by prison officials, but only if they are related to legitimate security interests. Individuals and publishers writing to prisoners also have First Amendment rights that come into play, and prison officials similarly cannot restrict their rights without a legitimate security interest.
Congress has also acted to provide prisoners additional protections for religious freedom. In a law commonly known as RLUIPA (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act), Congress said that prison officials cannot “substantially burden” a person’s exercise of religion unless they can show that they have a compelling interest, and that there are no less restrictive ways to achieve that purpose. In other words, if prison officials prohibit a prisoner from practicing his or her religion, they must prove that they have a very good reason to do so, and that their restriction is the only way to achieve their goal.
First Amendment and religious expression cases, like all prisoners’ rights cases, tend to be difficult to prove. At Loevy & Loevy, we have the experience and dedication to pursue these cases on behalf of prisoners and detainees. We work tirelessly on behalf of all of our clients to provide them with the best outcome possible, and to help them vindicate their constitutional rights.
Loevy & Loevy has extensive experience representing men and women in custody in jail or prison. We have filed over 100 cases concerning prisoners’ rights. We have taken on individual clients and represented classes of prisoners numbering in the thousands. We have obtained highly favorable verdicts and settlements for prisoners and/or their loved ones. For more information on our successes, visit our Big Wins page.
Loevy & Loevy has offices in Chicago and Denver, but we take cases across the country and have represented prisoners or their loved ones in states all over the country, including Louisiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Alabama, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and more.
When we take a case, it’s because we believe that a serious constitutional violation has occurred and we are committed to trying to achieve justice for our client. Even though many cases eventually reach settlement, we approach each case with an eye toward getting it into a courtroom. Loevy & Loevy is known for its willingness to take hard cases to trial (and win them), and has a nationally recognized reputation for success in the courtroom.
We always work on a contingency basis in prisoners’ rights cases, so you will not be on the hook for any attorney fees unless we win.
Many prisoners’ rights cases require medical or correctional experts to give opinions about the standard of care in the correctional setting. These experts and other costs associated with civil litigation can cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Loevy & Loevy agrees to front the costs for our clients so that they can vindicate their constitutional rights even if they cannot afford to pay.
If prison officials have restricted the First Amendment or religious expression rights of you or your loved one, contact us today for a free consultation. You can call us at (312) 243-5900, toll-free (888) 644-6459, or contact us online.
You can also write us at:
Loevy & Loevy
Attn: Prisoners’ Rights
311 North Aberdeen St., 3rd Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60607
If you are currently incarcerated, please remember to write “Legal Mail” or “Attorney Mail” on the envelope.
Please keep in mind that all legal claims have deadlines—called statutes of limitations—that require you to file a lawsuit within a certain period of time in order to preserve your legal rights. These deadlines can be quite short (sometimes within six months to a year) and do not stop running even while you are looking for legal representation.
Topic: Police Misconduct
After notorious Chicago Police detective Kriston Kato faked evidence, Bernard Williams spent 23 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit CHICAGO – Bernard Williams was a 17-year-old student at what is now Near North Career Metropolitan High School, working in his family’s store, when Chicago police conspired to send him to prison for… Read More
Ian Simmers spent nearly 23 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit SEATTLE, WA – A Kent man today sued Bothell, WA and King County and several of their police officers in federal court for illegally coercing a false murder confession out of him in 1995 when was 16-years-old. That and other false… Read More