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State responds to prison lawsuit settlement

A spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Law says the state is glad it was able to reach a settlement in a lawsuit by a Cherokee Indian inmate at a state prison who claimed he was not allowed to practice his Native faith with certain clothing.

Assistant Attorney General Cori Mills was responding to an announcement Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska that it settled a lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections Tuesday that had been filed on behalf inmate Brian Hall.

Mills says in an email to The Associated Press that the state was glad “it was able to work out a compromise that accommodates Hall’s religious practices along with DOC’s interest in institutional security.”

The lawsuit was filed in August 2016 after Hall was denied requests to wear as part of his faith a bear claw pendant and a bandanna in violation of the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

ACLU officials say in a news release that under the settlement agreement, Hall and others will be able to practice their faith without “unconstitutional constraints.”


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