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Ministry Sues for Access to Inmates

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The Oklahoma Department of Corrections' refusal to allow a Christian ministry access to send Bibles, books about Jesus Christ and other religious materials to inmates has sparked a federal

lawsuit.

Wingspread Christian Ministries, headquartered in Prairie Grove, Ark., and operated by Illinois-based Evangelists for Christ Inc., filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Muskogee.

Prison restrictions on prisoners' correspondence violate the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Oklahoma's Religious Freedom Act, the 12-page lawsuit petition claims.

"Restricting Wingspread's freedom of speech and religion is not only harmful to our constitutional rights, it is also very harmful to those within prison walls in need of spiritual sustenance," said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, a Charlottesville,

Va.-based civil liberties organization, which represents the plaintiffs.

Neville Massie, executive assistant to Oklahoma Corrections Director Justin Jones, ...

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