Canadian prisoners sue over lack of chaplains

Ron Csillag, Religion News Service, Apr.02

Inmates in British Columbia have filed suit to overturn a decision by the Canadian government to cut part-time prison chaplains, alleging that the policy has nearly eliminated prison ministry to minority faiths.

“Prisoners do not lose their right to freely express their religious and spiritual beliefs by virtue of their incarceration,” said the lawsuit, which asks the court to declare the policy a violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and to reinstate minority faith chaplains in British Columbia.

The suit was triggered by Ottawa’s announcement last October that it was canceling the contracts of all part-time prison chaplains to save an estimated $1.3 million. The non-Christian chaplains ministered to Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, and Buddhist inmates, and those who follow aboriginal spirituality.

Read the complete article here.