Va. inmate’s win in suit against government a rarity
© May 15, 2011
Rashid Qawi Al-Amin succeeded where thousands of Virginia prison inmates before him have failed: He prevailed in a lawsuit against the government.
Al-Amin won a settlement with the state that forces the prison system to supply him, and the Greensville Correctional Center library, with Muslim reading materials, CDs and DVDs. He’ll also receive $2,000.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office decided to settle the seven-year legal battle after a series of court rulings in Al-Amin’s favor. The state admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement but did agree to perform eight different acts to satisfy Al-Amin’s claims.
The case highlights a trend among state and federal prisoners, many of them converted Muslims, fighting for their rights to practice their faith.
In 1989, Al-Amin, then known as Donald Tracey Jones, was convicted in Norfolk Circuit Court of murder and use of a firearm, and sentenced to 52 years in prison. Police said the shooting was drug-related. Jones, a New York native, was in his early 20s at the time. He’s scheduled to be released in 2016.