COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that 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.
The judge said Monday that Ohio’s blanket policy against dreadlocks violates the law because it doesn’t permit a religious exemption. She also said the state didn’t prove Glenn’s hair couldn’t be searched for contraband or is a safety risk.
The judge said her ruling applied only to Glenn and other similar complaints should be analyzed individually.
The Ohio prisons system declined comment.
The 29-year-old Glenn is serving 15 years to life on a murder charge.