COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge says Ohio can’t force a convicted killer to cut off his dreadlocks, calling it a violation of religious rights.
U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan (gon) sided with inmate Deon Glenn, who says his faith of Rastafarianism (rah-stah-FARE-ee-ah-nizm) requires him to wear his hair in dreadlocks.
Gaughan’s ruling Monday said Ohio’s blanket policy against dreadlocks in prison violates the law because it doesn’t permit a religious exemption, and the state didn’t prove Glenn’s hair couldn’t be searched for contraband or is a safety risk.
The judge limited her decision to Glenn and said other similar complaints should be analyzed individually. A prison’s spokeswoman declined to comment.
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Law students at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University sued on behalf of the 29-year-old Glenn, who is serving 15 years to life on a murder charge.