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Priority Questions: Religion, Education, and the Prisoner (Part 1)

by Robert T. Elton

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” U.S. Const. Amend. 1 (1787).

As much discord as religious ideas produce, the doctrine of free exercise actually does great service to most all belief structures—considering its birth and adoption in history (this 1st Amendment works today, even in prisons). In the correctional setting, religion dominates the lives of many prisoners, if only because practicing religious beliefs remains one of few rights prisoners have once inside; education is another right (a statutory one).

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