The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Friedman United States District Judge
This matter is before the Court on defendants' motion to dismiss and on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment.*fn1 Having considered the motions, the oppositions thereto, and the entire record in this case, the Court will grant the motions in part and deny them in part.
Having been convicted of money laundering and other fraud-related offenses, plaintiff is a federal prisoner who currently is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Beaumont, Texas ("Beaumont Low"). Complaint ("Compl.") ¶ 5. He describes himself as "an observant Jew" who "practiced Judaism before his incarceration and continues his practice of Judaism while confined." Id. ¶ 8; see Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment as to Count I ("Pl.'s Mot."), Ex. 1 ("Sample Decl."), ¶¶ 19-23. He "sincerely believes that he must drink at least 3.5 ounces of red wine (a reviit) while saying Kiddush, a prayer sanctifying the Sabbath, during Friday night and Saturday shabbos services." Compl. ¶ 9; see Sample Decl. ¶¶ 2, 8. Under Beaumont Low's current procedures, "[d]uring the Shabbat services," plaintiff says "Kiddush over grape juice and matzah, which is contrary to [his] sincerely held belief that a Jewish adult should say Kiddush over a glass of wine, and challah bread." Sample Decl. ¶ 22. According to plaintiff, "[s]aying Kiddush over grape juice or bread alone is only an acceptable substitute for adults who are sick, and cannot consume alcohol. The ritual of Kiddush is more complete if said over 3 to 5 ounces of wine." Id. ¶ 8. In addition, plaintiff "sincerely believes that he must drink four cups containing a[t] least 3.5 ounces of wine during the Passover seder." Compl. ¶ 10; see Sample Decl. ¶¶ 2, 15.
Through the inmate grievance process, plaintiff challenged the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") regulation which allows inmates to consume wine during religious observances only at the Warden's discretion. He asked that BOP either provide wine or permit him to purchase wine for consumption during Shabbat and Passover observances. Compl. ¶ 13; see Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment or to Transfer ("Defs.' Mot."), Attach. A (Request for Administrative Remedy dated Aug. 20, 2004). Plaintiff also asked BOP either to amend its policy regarding wine for religious rituals, or to "draft an operations memoranda on how Wardens exercise their discretion in permitting or not permitting wine during religious services." Defs.' Mot., Attach. A (Request for Administrative Remedy dated Aug. 20, 2004). Relying on Program Statement 5360.08 (August 22, 2002 Change Notice), Religious Beliefs and Practices, the Warden denied plaintiff's request, explaining that:
There is no provision which requires wine be provided for inmate consumption therefore it is at the discretion of the Warden. Wine has been deemed a security issue at this institution and therefore is not provided to any religious faith for inmate consumption. Additionally, the Rabbi has been consulted. He confirms kosher grape juice as an acceptable alternative to wine.
Defs.' Mot., Attach. A (Response to Request for Administrative Remedy #349793-F1 dated September 14, 2004).
Plaintiff appealed this decision, unsuccessfully, to the Regional Director. See Compl. ¶ 14; Defs.' Mot., Attach. A (Regional Director Response dated October 22, 2004). With respect to plaintiff's request on appeal for an amendment to Program Statement 5360.08, the Regional Director responded as follows:
Current Bureau of Prison's policy provides guidance to staff on the use of wine for religious services. According to Program Statement 5360.08 . . ., inmates may be permitted to receive small amounts of wine as part of a religious ritual, only when administered under the supervision of clergy authorized by the Bureau of Prisons to perform the ritual. There is no need to write new policy on this issue.
Defs.' Mot., Attach. A (Regional Director Response dated October 22, 2004). At the last level of the appeal process, the Administrator of National Inmate Appeals concurred with the responses provided by the Warden and Regional Director, and denied the appeal. Id., Attach. A (National Inmate Appeals Response dated January 27, 2005).
Plaintiff alleges that the denial of his request for wine violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-1 et seq., and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1 et seq. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 15-22 (Count I). Further, he alleges that BOP's Director "failed to train, supervise, and promulgate policies requiring his subordinates to comply with RFRA and RLUIPA." Id. ¶ 23 (Count II). He demands declaratory and injunctive relief. Id. ¶ 24.
A. Plaintiff Need Not Exhaust Administrative Remedies Regarding Request for Staff ...