If a prisoner who practiced the Sikh religion asked to wear a kirpan (small dagger), saying he needed to wear the kirpan to express his religious faith, must prison officials grant the request?

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

No, it is likely that prison officials could refuse this request, even if motivated by sincere religious belief, because of legitimate safety concerns. The courts grant a good deal of discretion to prison officials when it comes to safety considerations. Safety is a paramount concern in prisons and is termed a legitimate penological interest.