The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROSZKOWSKI
STANLEY J. ROSZKOWSKI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiffs consist of a group of prisoners incarcerated at the Dixon Correctional Center in Dixon, Illinois. Dixon Correctional Center is a part of the Department of Corrections of the State of Illinois and is a medium security prison. Defendants consist of Mr. Michael P. Lane, Director of the Department of Corrections of the State of Illinois; Mr. Leo L. Meyers, Assistant Director of the Adult Division of the Department of Corrections; Mr. Richard B. Gramley,
Warden at Dixon Correctional Center; Mr. Larry E. Sachs, Assistant Warden for Programs at Dixon Correctional Center; and Mr. William D. O'Sullivan,
Assistant Warden of Operations at Dixon Correctional Center.
Plaintiffs are Jewish inmates who desire to practice their religion during their period of incarceration at Dixon Correctional Center. Approximately 20,000 persons are incarcerated within the Illinois Department of Corrections statewide. Of these persons, approximately 110 are of the Jewish faith. At the time of trial, Dixon Correctional Center housed 890 inmates. Seven of these were Jewish.
Several requirements exist in relation to the practice of Judaism. The necessary garments include: a tzitzes, which is a fringed garment that is worn all day and may be worn underneath a shirt so that only the fringes are visible; a yarmulke, which is a skull cap that is also worn at all times; a tephillin, which is best described as an arm "wrap" that is worn during morning prayers; and a talus, which is a prayer shawl that is also worn during morning prayers. Daily prayer, for the Jew, occurs three times a day: once in the morning, once in the afternoon and then once again after sundown. During prayer, prayer books are used. The Jewish Bible is used for study as are the Torah and the Talmud containing language, philosophy and Jewish law.
Numerous Jewish holidays exist throughout the year. On these holidays, Jewish law requires the Jew to do no work. The holidays (and the dates on which they occurred in 1988) are: Pesach or Passover (April 2-9);
Shavuot (May 21 and 22); Rosh Hashana (September 12 and 13); Yom Kippur (September 21); Succot (September 26-October 2);
and Simhat Torrah (October 3 and 4). Three "post-Biblical" holidays are also observed: Purim (one month before Passover); Hanukkah (December 4); and Tisha B'av.
Finally, Jews are not allowed by Jewish law to work on their Sabbath.
Religious articles are used on the various Jewish holidays. A ram's horn is used on Rosh Hashana. Special holiday prayer books are required. Candles are used on holidays and on every Sabbath, staying lit until the Sabbath is over. The Sabbath also requires a cup of wine or grape juice and challus rolls. Passover calls for a "festive" meal and unleavened bread.
The Illinois Department of Corrections has not published any specific statewide policies instructing the various Illinois Correctional Centers on how to deal with Jewish inmates who desire to practice their religion. As such, Dixon Correctional Center officials have been inconsistent and slow in responding to Jewish inmates' requests for diet, garments, articles and services in line with their Jewish faith. Prior to June 1987, Jewish inmates at Dixon Correctional Center were permitted to wear yarmulkes all day long. At present, however, inmates are allowed to wear yarmulkes only in their cells and during religious services.
Dixon Correctional Center does provide prayer books for inmates' use. The books are kept in the chaplain's office, not in the Jewish prisoner's cell. As such, an inmate must ask the chaplain or a guard to obtain a prayer book for him every time the inmate desires to pray.
No rules exist regarding the provision of religious services to Jewish inmates. A general rule, promulgated by the Illinois Department of Corrections, does require a Correctional Center to provide religious services. Dixon Correctional Center is serviced by volunteer rabbis who provide religious services for Jewish inmates on some holidays and on some Sabbaths. Over a three and one-half year period, volunteer rabbis visited Dixon Correctional Center approximately forty-three times. When a rabbi is not present, Dixon Correctional Center allows inmates to gather for prayer and/or services only when a staff supervisor is present.
Beginning in December of 1985, a kosher diet was available at Dixon Correctional Center. Some breaks in the availability of kosher meals did occur during this time due to depletion of supplies and delays in receiving new deliveries of kosher ...