Rastafarian sues Carolina prison for shaving dreadlocks

A South Carolina inmate sued the state prisons department with claims that the agency violated his religious freedoms by not allowing him to keep dreadlocks or smoke marijuana. https://www.newsweek.com/inmate-claims-religious-freedoms-were-violated-after-being-denied-marijuana-1261458

In a federal lawsuit against the South Carolina Department of Corrections, James Rose claimed that the agency unlawfully shaved off his dreadlocks in April 2017. He argued that he should be allowed to grow his hair to “unlimited length” as part of his religion. Rose also argued that the agency violated his constitutional rights when it refused to give him marijuana “as part of the Rastafarian religious practice.”

The 41-year-old has been serving a life sentence after a 2013 murder conviction, the Associated Press reported.

In the lawsuit, Rose said he grew out dreadlocks as part of the Rastafarian religion and asked to be accommodated with marijuana. In response, Rose claimed the defendant jumped on him, held him down in restraints and physically forced him to get a haircut.

“The injuries I’ve sustained related to the events were migraine headaches, psychological trauma, mental anguish (depression), panic attacks and nightmares,” Rose claimed.

Rose said in his lawsuit that he was seeking $1,000,000 in actual and punitive damages due to the defendant using “excessive force to maliciously and sadistically cause harm.” He also requested to regrow his dreadlocks and be supplied with marijuana.

The inmate was involved in a fatal shooting on January 24, 2012. A jury found that Rose was not the person who pulled the trigger.

Rose was sentenced to life in prison. He was being held at McCormick Correctional Institution, according to jail records. His lawsuit against the state’s correctional facility was filed on December 10.

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