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Limits to religious freedom

Brief by Central Staff

Prisons – December 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Prison walls do not keep inmates from practicing their faith — the Colorado Department of Corrections identifies 53 different religions inside state facilities, and attempts to accommodate them as best it can while maintaining order and security.

The 1,289 inmates at the Buena Vista Correction Facility fall into six groups. Most are Protestant, followed by Roman Catholic and Islam.

All hold services, including the American Indians with a sweat lodge.

However, the five practitioners of Asatru are somewhat limited. They profess to follow old Nordic beliefs in Thor and Odin.

“We try to cater, as much as we can, to the inmates’ religious needs,” explained Gary Crowder, the volunteer co√∂rdinator. But in the case of Asatru, “it is simply not possible for us to allow them to make huge bonfires and then let them jump over them.”