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Archdiocese Sues Wisconsin Over Prisoner Visit Restrictions During Pandemic

WILL: Policy Banning Visitors Violates Law Granting Clergy Weekly Visits

The silhouette of a cross on a Catholic church
Michael Dwyer/AP Photo

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has filed a lawsuit demanding Wisconsin corrections officials relax COVID-19 protocols and allow ministers to visit inmates.

Conservative law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed the lawsuit Friday on behalf of the archdiocese in Jefferson County.

The lawsuit alleges the state Department of Corrections adopted a policy in March 2020 banning volunteer visits, preventing clergy from the archdiocese from meeting in-person with inmates to provide spiritual guidance, communion and penance. The filing contends the policy violates a state law that grants clergy of all faiths weekly visits with inmates and inmates’ freedom of religion.

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A DOC spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.