of validity accorded to prison regulations, the prisoner must prove that the officials' response to security considerations is exaggerated.
In rejecting, within the prison context, the "least restrictive alternative" approach to governmental infringements on First Amendment rights in favor of a deferential review, the St. Claire court implicitly stated, this court believes, that a prison regulation may be overbroad yet still be valid. That is, an institution-wide policy may cast too wide a net, and catch within it some individuals for whom the same goals could be achieved with less trampling upon their rights. So long as such a policy, drafted to cover all inmates, effectively serves a valid goal, it is permissible, although it may have a particularly negative impact on some inmates. The rejection of a "least restrictive alternative" approach means that regulations need not be drafted so as to give individual consideration to the peculiar circumstances of each particular class of inmates.
2. Standard 853 and the March 7 policy were explained as institution-wide means designed to advance the goals of both security and order, and rehabilitation. Based on the testimony of the defendants, the court concludes that the means selected plausibly advance these goals. Thus, the court believes it is virtually constrained to hold that, even as applied to plaintiffs, the two policies are valid.
Still, the Supreme Court cases do also speak of the need for a " mutual accommodation" between institutional objectives and constitutional rights. See, e.g., Bell, supra, at 546, cited in St. Claire, supra, at 112. Therefore, some effort must be made to afford prisoners reasonable opportunities for the exercise of religious freedom. See Barrett v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 689 F.2d 498, 501 (4th Cir. 1982). Although officials need not adopt the least restrictive approach consistent with its goals, neither would it seem they may adopt the most restrictive approach when faced with a claim of constitutional right. In effect, the application of the two policies to the plaintiffs is the most restrictive alternative. Therefore, the court believes it is necessary to consider the validity of the defendants' objections to the individualized alternatives posed by plaintiffs. (These objections are included in the court's findings of fact, supra.)
We must conclude that proposals having the effect of potentially concentrating all Muslim inmates in one or two inside details could be properly rejected as potential dangers to prison order and security. See Jones, supra (comparable facts). In drawing this conclusion, as well as the ones which follow, we defer to the expertise of the defendants. Proposals having the effect of displacing more dangerous inmates from inside jobs could be properly rejected on the same grounds. Proposals for weekend work as a substitute for Friday labor could properly be rejected as potential dangers to security insofar as such proposals would necessitate the diversion of manpower from other programs requiring supervision. Proposals to allow inmates working on the 1100 acre grounds to return (escorted or unescorted) to their buildings for the Jumu'ah could properly be rejected on both security (particularly in the case of gang minimum inmates) and rehabilitation grounds. Finally, all proposals, insofar as they might be perceived by other inmates as evidence of favored treatment, could properly be rejected on the grounds of both security and rehabilitation. Thus, it appears that no less restrictive alternative could be adopted without potentially compromising a legitimate institutional objective. Therefore, the court cannot conclude that the defendants are in violation of plaintiffs' First Amendment rights.
3. Plaintiffs' equal protection challenge must also fail. The "least restrictive alternative" approach applicable to equal protection cases involving fundamental rights, such as religious expression, must undergo the same modification it undergoes in the First Amendment context. Therefore, that Jews and Christians are able to attend their Sabbath services while Muslims may not is not in violation of the equal protection clause, as the practices of Christians and Jews in no way impinge upon the institution's objectives.
It is true that as a general matter, inmates of any religion may not be denied the reasonable opportunity to pursue their faith comparable to the opportunity afforded prisoners of other faiths. Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 31 L. Ed. 2d 263, 92 S. Ct. 1079 (1972). But this does not mean that religious opportunities need be identical. Id. at 322 n.2. Here, the evidence indicates that generally Muslims have opportunities similar to those of everyone else. There is, for example, an inam who regularly visits Leesburg, conducts a service on Wednesday nights, and is paid by the state. Furthermore, Leesburg makes special arrangements to accommodate the dietary needs of Muslims during Ramadan, a month-long holy season, suggesting that Muslims are not ignored in the observance of important religious events.
4. Finally, the plaintiffs have not proved that the policies under discussion, facially valid, were adopted with the impermissible goal of restricting their religious rights.
5. In view of the foregoing, plaintiffs' claims for compensatory and punitive damages must also be dismissed.
The foregoing represents the court's findings of fact and conclusions of law.