Over two years ago Missouri Prison Reform was informed of a situation at Easter Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri by a group of Muslim men who were pepper sprayed by Missouri Department of Corrections staff while the men were praying (A Letter From One of The Muslim Men Pepper Sprayed – Missouri Prison Reform (moprisonreform.org). Recently, a lawsuit was filed regarding that incident (Lawsuit: Muslims praying at Missouri prison pepper-sprayed (ky3.com). Unfortunately, harassment of Muslim individuals who are incarcerated in Missouri Department of Corrections facilities continues. We received the following message from an individual who is currently at Agloa Correctional Center in Jefferson City, Missouri. This is shared with the person’s permission.
“Here at Algoa correctional center they are abusing our religious Islamic rights during the month of Ramadan. the CO’s are harassing us early in the mornings with “security checks” while we are asleep. they are forcing us to take off our religious head gear and threatening to take it from us. the chapel has been known for taking away our obligatory Friday prayer for weeks at a time. the chapel is also preventing our VIC (volunteer in corrections) from bringing us food for our catering event, it has to be a caterer of the chapels choice… we are not able to practice our religion in peace, they make it very hard. especially during the month of Ramadan. they frown upon the Muslim religion.”