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Judge rules against Wisconsin prisons over visitation policy

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A Wisconsin judge has ruled against the state prison system, saying its COVID-19 visitor policy that barred Catholic clergy from meeting with inmates for more than a year violated state law and the state constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed a lawsuit in 2021 demanding state corrections officials relax COVID-19 protocols and allow ministers to visit inmates. The policy was in place from March 13, 2020, until June 21, 2021.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge William Hue ruled in favor of the archdiocese, saying the Department of Corrections did not give proper consideration to religious interests in denying them access.

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