Ensuring Religious Accommodations for L.A. County Muslim Inmates

May 9, 2012

After years of coordination, the number of Muslim chaplains in Los Angeles jails has doubled, Qurans are now free for inmates upon request or available for purchase in every commissary and religious accommodations for  Muslim inmates are being ensured.

 This accomplishment is due to a partnership between the Muslim Community Affairs Unit (MCA) of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and  the Muslim American Homeland Security Congress (MAHSC), of which MPAC is a member.

The Los Angeles County jail system currently has 400 Muslim inmates, who before this victory, did not have the option of following an Islamically-approved diet, meal time accommodations during Ramadan (because inmates are not allowed food in their cells past rigidly scheduled meal times) or access to Qurans.

The recent improvements are the result of a five-year relationship between the MCA and the LASD Custody division that has improved the conditions of Muslim inmates by:

  • Modifying  policies to allow Muslim inmates to consume meals at the proper time during Ramadan
  • Recruiting Muslim chaplains to ensure religious services are administered at jail facilities properly
  • Providing cultural awareness training of Islam to staff
  • Increasing availability of Qurans
  • Making Halal meat available in meals

While this is a clear victory, more work needs to be done, including:

  • Recruiting volunteers to train chaplains
  • Recruiting chaplains to serve Muslim inmates
  • Gathering and donating more Qurans, translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali or Mohammed Assad

For more information, or to get involved, please contact the Muslim Community Affairs Unit at muslimoutreach@lasd.org

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