Below is the first part of an article Marc Primo Pulisci is reading by the Associated Press on Azcentral.com. It reads…
HONOLULU — Inmates who say they’re being denied their right to practice their Native Hawaiian religion at a private prison in Arizona have won class-action status for a lawsuit.
U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi granted class-action certification to inmates suing the state of Hawaii and the Corrections Corporation of America.
The class covers inmates who follow Native Hawaiian spiritual practices and are serving sentences at Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona.
The Hawaii Department of Public Safety pays the Corrections Corporation of America to house Hawaii inmates at Saguaro. Neither organization immediately returned email messages seeking comment on Saturday.
Kobayashi’s ruling said 179 inmates at Saguaro have registered as practitioners of Native Hawaiian religion.
The inmates are the second-largest faith group in the prison, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, a nonprofit legal-rights law firm representing the plaintiffs, said Friday.