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Holt v. Hobbs: Protecting Religious Freedom in Prison

When I was incarcerated, I had the opportunity
to participate in a faith-based program which dramatically changed my life. I was able to use religion as a form of correction
for myself, and get my values back in order. Practicing my religion helped me to become
a better person. You know, if somebody had come in there and said, “You can’t read your
Bible,” or “You can’t pray,” I would still be in prison right now. Prison is a hopeless place. And so when you
get a spark of hope, wherever that hope can come from, it can be a cure-all in some sense.
And I don’t know any catalyst of hope, any greater catalyst of hope than that that faith
brings, because faith is full of hope. There’s not one thing I could say when I was
in prison that rehabilitated me. Going to the chow line did not rehabilitate me. Standing
in the commissary line did not rehabilitate me. Working in the kitchen did not rehabilitate
me. My heart being changed by Jesus Christ is the only thing that helped me. Its important, even for me, I met other guys
who were, you know, Muslims and other faiths in the prison, and it was good for all of
us to practice what we believed in. Seeing other people be able to practice their
faith, I see the change in them. If you even look at the foundational beliefs
or philosophy as to why prisons were even made, its the penitentiary – “penance” – its
this opportunity to be reflective and to actually reach out to something that’s higher in order
for you to make reparations and then move on with your life. And I believe that if anybody
should have access to that right it should be the people who are incarcerated. Through religion I’ve been able to rehabilitate
myself, and I’m very proud to say that.

Otis Rodgers



  1. Justin Wiggins Posted on September 5, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is what they need, not labor alone, but work along with the freeing Gospel of Jesus Christ!!!!!!

  2. MrKGatl Posted on September 6, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    If the mythological tales of the bible make them less likely to be criminals, I can't really argue with that. I still don't like systems of control, but I also like my liberties.

  3. The821821 Posted on October 7, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Not when the beliefs infringe upon the rights of other prisoners & their right to have "sanitary" conditions/environment to live in. One guy with fleas or lice in his beard has the potential to infect the entire pop. Besides..if you're in prison? The least of your problems are your religious beliefs,.especially if they cause you to do things that are illegal. I mean.. WHERE was your conviction in your religious beliefs, when you broke the law? They can't be very good if that's what they do..

  4. Iris Stoudmire Posted on October 22, 2014 at 12:25 am

    With all the issues this prisoner has that landed him in prison, I think the last thing he should worry about is growing a beard. He needs to grow a heart go Jesus. After all, it's all about Him, not the prisoner. Relationship, not religion

  5. Iris Stoudmire Posted on October 22, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Sorry–I meant "a heart for Jesus"