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48 Va. inmates isolated because of hair

Nearly 50 Virginia prisoners are being held in perpetual isolation because they refuse to cut their hair.

Following an Associated Press story about 10 Rastafarian inmates who had been in segregation for 10 years for ignoring the state's grooming policy, Secretary of Public Safety Marla Decker ordered a count of the inmates who were being held in isolation because of the policy.

The review found 48 inmates were being held in segregation for refusing to follow the policy, which calls for hair to be kept above the shirt collar and bans beards. Of those, 13 were Rastafarians, who view growing their hair as a tenet of their religion.

Officials say the review does not mean the policy will change. Civil rights and religious advocates say it violates the prisoners' freedom to worship.

-- Associated Press

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 30, 2010; 7:54 AM ET
Categories:  Prison Beat , Updates , Virginia  
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Comments

I can understand and support the policy in general, as it could be a safety issue.

However, I also think exceptions should be made for those that see it as a religious issue.
It's nice that the state doesn't force anyone to get a haircut, but holding them in isolation isn't the answer either.

Considering there are 48 inmates, thats enough to fill a wing or section in some prisons.

These inmates should be grouped together as possible.

Posted by: MarilynManson | June 30, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I truly believe that prison is a punishment and the prisoners should have some basic rights revoked. They were removed from society because they did not conform to the rules and laws that govern them. cutting their hair is healthy and can be used to hide contraband or weapons. This makes unsafe conditions for other inmates and the guards that protect them. I myself believe that the USA allows bad behavior because their are too many liberal lawmakers that are too scared to transform the bad people into law obiding citizens, because they fear for their own safety.The government needs to stop making compromises and be strict on lawbreakers. If they are fortunate enough to get out of prison then some of their rights should be restored according to their positive progress.

Posted by: KimWatson | June 30, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

...13 were Rastafarians, who view growing their hair as a tenet of their religion.
===========================================
Growing hair is a tenet of their religion.

You've got to love religion and "religious" people for the endless laughs the mind boggling idiocy provides.

Posted by: checkered1 | June 30, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I truly believe that prison is a punishment and the prisoners should have some basic rights revoked. They were removed from society because they did not conform to the rules and laws that govern them. cutting their hair is healthy and can be used to hide contraband or weapons. This makes unsafe conditions for other inmates and the guards that protect them. I myself believe that the USA allows bad behavior because their are too many liberal lawmakers that are too scared to transform the bad people into law obiding citizens, because they fear for their own safety.The government needs to stop making compromises and be strict on lawbreakers. If they are fortunate enough to get out of prison then some of their rights should be restored according to their positive progress.

Posted by: KimWatson | June 30, 2010 9:24 AM
=====================================

I love how the headline 48 Rastafarians turns into 10 Rastafarians and 38 others.

Punishing a person for the crime they have committed is apropos. Acting as if that person, having been found guilty, is no longer afforded the constitutional right to 'freedom of religion' is absurd.

Should orthodox jews be forbidden to wear a yarmulke and trim their beards and sideburns?

Pork is cheap, so Jews and Muslims should be forced to eat pork since they are in prison and don't have rights.

Bibles could be used to store contraband so no prisoners should be able to read the bible.

they should all be bald and naked.

where does it end?

BTW, New York, Texas and Colorado provide kosher meals to their Jewish inmates during passover so their is a precedent for the observance of religious needs within the prison system and Rastafarians can not be denied those same rights that have been granted to Jews and Muslims.

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | June 30, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

10 years in segregation is crazy! And is it a security risk if they don't cut their hair? I guess one of them might throw their dreads over the fence and try to escape huh?

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | June 30, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

They should have taken their RELIGION into consideration when they were comitting their crime. What does their religion say about comitting crimes?????
They should shave them all bald.

Posted by: Wade64 | June 30, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Wade64 | June 30, 2010 12:47 PM
"They should have taken their RELIGION into consideration when they were comitting their crime. What does their religion say about comitting crimes?????"

-----------------------------

Many people in prison find religion AFTER getting there. Being locked up gives you a lot of time to think about your life, and your behavior and your purpose here on earth. I would think this would be a good thing. So are we to further punish those prisoners who are repentive and seeking to become spiritual?
The concept of not cutting your hair comes directly from the bible. Jesus wasn't a big fan of haircuts either, but Christianity tends to gloss over all the rules and instructions from the old testament to make it easier to get new converts.
Letting a prisoner grow their hair isn't much in the way of coddling.
But keeping them in isolation for it is cruel and unusual in my opinion.

Posted by: MarilynManson | June 30, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I love how prisoners quote from their religion when its convenient for them! I don't give a rat's *ss if they aren't treated equally in prison!! I don't care if they don't get kosher meals. I don't care if they don't get prayer time. I don't care if the prison only has a Reverend and not a Rabbi. We waste too much time, money, and effort trying to please thugs.

Professor, you may have said it sarcastically, but let them be BALD and NAKED!! They're probably living better in prison than the life they left behind...3 squares and a roof over the head. That's plenty! They don't deserve better than that!!

And they certainly don't deserve the same rights as the law-abiding citizens do!

Posted by: aktotlykrzy | June 30, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

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