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Religious Programs at Prison Questioned

August 09, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

MARION, Ohio — A warden credited with halting rampant violence and improving job training at Marion Correctional Institution is facing criticism over religious programs.

Warden Christine Money has drawn national attention for enhancing programs that give inmates greater freedom to practice their religious beliefs. The prison's Horizon interfaith dormitory -- where 48 Christians, Jews and Muslims live in units of six inmates each -- will be recognized by the American Correctional Assn. on Tuesday.

That same day, Promise Keepers, the evangelical Christian men's ministry, plans to visit for its first rally behind bars. Promise Keepers and private donors are paying for the rally. But Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Jewish Congress have urged the state prisons director to bar the event.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio said, however, that religion behind bars is no problem so long as all faiths are given equal opportunity.

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