By Leila Miller, The Los Angeles Times

There are days when Rabbi Avivah Erlick sits in her car outside Men’s Central Jail, too afraid to go in. She’s counseled hundreds of inmates, but sometimes she arrives downtown only to drive back home, not ready to face the sudden lockdowns, the stale air and the stories about violence and loneliness. …

Patricia Shnell, an attorney from the L.A. chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which filed the lawsuit, said that beyond the litigation, CAIR has been working to recruit volunteers by trying to have the topic raised at sermons in mosques. But she asserted that the small number of volunteers doesn’t excuse the jail from its responsibility to accommodate.

“Even if there is a lack of Muslim volunteers, they still have an obligation to allow people to practice their religions freely,” she said, holding that jail staff, for example, could allow inmates to lead their own services.