Excerpt from letter sent by a prisoner at Oshkosh Correctional on 8/6/18:
“One day after the concentration of the new Pagan Chapel Group’s ritual altar, the administration ordered its destruction in clear violation to 42 U.S.C. 2000cc, Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). This law requires prisons to use a least restrictive means test when creating a burden on the practice of an individual’s religious beliefs, and the burden must serve a clear governmental and penological interest. The altar had been in place over a week when Security Director Emil Toney ordered the destruction. He had initially approved the construction of the altar, but backtracked claiming “…it’s not what I had envisioned.” It was a stone altar 2’x4’x3′. The altar is supposedly to be replaced with a portable 6″x10″x18″ table; which is less than
half the size of the piano bench (where people put their ass) we had been using for more than 20 years. Also, the stone circle marking our sacred space was shrunk from 36′ — which is too small to accommodate our group, already — to 30′.
This action has deeply wounded me, and I’ve heard much anger from Pagans and Christians alike.”
Conditions in the Wisconsin prison system need to change.