haile selassie
The man had not cut his hair in 20 years before it was shaved off in prison.

A Rastafarian man who had his dreadlocks cut against his will is appealing his case to the Supreme Court. 

Damon Landor, a Rastafarian who had locks down to his knees at the time he was sentenced to a five-month prison sentence for drug possession, had his head forcibly shaved in a Louisiana prison.

Despite a panel of judges agreeing that Landor was morally wronged, he was denied the right to seek legal damages. Now, he’s appealed the decision all the way to the Supreme Court, hoping that the nation’s highest court will take up his case this fall and provide him restitution for what he says was a blatant violation of his religious freedom as a Rastafarian.

Shaved Against His Will

When admitted to prison for a five-month drug sentence, Landor was informed his head would be shaved in accordance with the prison’s grooming policy. Despite informing the Louisiana Department of Corrections that his long hair was worn in accordance with his faith, Landor says he was cuffed to a prison table, held down, and had his head shaved by prison guards.

He sued the warden and the guards the next year, arguing that their conduct violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which reads in part “no government shall impose a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person residing in or confined to an institution.”

The original case was dismissed, and upon appeal, a panel of judges agreed that he’d been wronged, but nevertheless stood by the prior court’s decision in another case, writing:

“We emphatically condemn the treatment that Landor endured. Still, we remain bound by our prior decision in Sossamon I, that, under RLUIPA, he cannot seek money damages from officials in their individual capacities.”

What is Rastafarianism?

haile selassie
Haile Selassie I

Rastafarians follow the Nazarite Vow, in honor of the vow taken by Samson in the Old Testament. Modern-day practitioners do not drink wine, eat meat, go near corpses, or cut their hair – and followers of Rastafarianism wear their hair in dreadlocks.

In the world of faith, Rastafari is relatively new. The religion was founded in Jamaica in the 1930s as an Afrocentric faith and social movement combining elements of Christianity and African mysticism. It has since grown to roughly one million followers worldwide.

Many (but not all) Rastas believe that Haile Selassie I, emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, was the Second Coming of Christ, who would lead black Africans to freedom. Rastas believe in Jah, a shortened version of the Christian “Jehovah”, but believe that Jah resides within each of us, rather than as a distant deity to be worshiped. 

Most Rastas place an emphasis on living naturally, including wearing their hair in dreadlocks, and most consider cannabis a holy sacrament. Rastafarianism gained global prominence in the 1960s with the spread of reggae music, largely popularized by Bob Marley, now considered an icon and hero within Rastafarianism.

What Happens Next?

Landor and his attorneys have appealed to the Supreme Court, where they are hoping his case will be heard in a future session. The imprisoned Rasta maintains that he’s been legally wronged, and his religious rights blatantly violated when he was forcibly shaved.

“My hair is my crown,” says Landor. “That’s why I hold my head up high. It’s awareness of being a young king.”

The Supreme Court has been very active in expanding protections for majority faiths like Christianity in recent years. The question remains: do those same principles extend to smaller religions?

What do you think? Will they take up a case that involves the rights of a minority faith, or is the issue likely to be ignored?

94 comments

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Rastafarians dreadlocks are part of their religion and should be treated as such.Good luck fellow brother in your court case.

    1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

      So is peyote to some native Americans, shall we let them trip balls in prison?

      We seem to have forgotten the purpose of modern day incarceration.

      1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

        When it comes to peyote, this isn't "taking the drugs to sit and trip". A VERY small amount is taken to aid in a vision quest. It is a deeply spiritual practice, and the fact you put "Tripping balls in prison", comparing a vision quest ceremony to some stoner's bad experience is extremely discriminatory.

        1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

          Bridget,

          I know precisely what peyote is, where to find it, how to grow it, how to use it, what it does and what you can gain from it. I have no problem in the slightest with any free soul consuming the plant for whatever purpose they desire regardless of religion. Religion really has nothing to do with it. All humans have the right to consume any plant they feel like they want to, not just peyote. Personally I've gone on many so called vision quests via many different entheogens. Countless really. I've seen what I needed to see. I got the message and hung up the phone. I'd recommend it for anyone who's curious at least once.

          We're talking about prison though. Prison is the suspension of human rights. That's all I'm saying. Don't mean to be crude, I try not to but sometimes I'm that way.

          I don't know what this guy's drug charges were but if they're natural plants he's in trouble for, the best way forward is to abolish those laws and never put the guy in prison in the first place. Save prison for those who are dangerous to you and I.

          1. Min. Jonathan Ragus's Avatar Min. Jonathan Ragus

            Suspension of human rights but not the suspension of religious rights. That's why religion plays a big part in US prisons with chapels, chaplain visits, etc.

            1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

              Suspension only of SOME human rights.

      2. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

        Check out the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and get back to me.

    2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      If he wanted to keep them he should have said something BEFORE they cut his hair, not after. While I agree he was treated badly, he is not going to win this case nor is the SCOTUS going to hear it. They have more important cases to hear out of the 2000 cases they get asked to hear each year and only have spots for maybe 20 or 30 per term.

      He stands a better chance of winning a case for how he was treated then instead of getting his hair cut.

      1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

        Your corpora cavernosa seems to be in a constant state of turgidity for SCOTUS, huh?

        Hopefully 34 guilty counts will result in the pendulum beginning swinging back to the other side. I bet that considering a SCOTUS that leans very hard to the left would resolve that turgidity situation,

        1. Rev. Michael Gerraghty II's Avatar Rev. Michael Gerraghty II

          Good job at replying to something that has nothing to do with the subject.

      2. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

        Did you bother to read the article, Daniel Gray?

        HE DID INFORM THEM BEFORE THEY CUT HIS HAIR.

        Despite informing the Louisiana Department of Corrections that his long hair was worn in accordance with his faith, Landor says he was cuffed to a prison table, held down, and had his head shaved by prison guards.

      3. John J. Beck's Avatar John J. Beck

        "... he should have said something BEFORE they cut his hair..." He did!

      4. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

        Do you really believe that First Amendment rights are not important?

        1. Canadian Yankee's Avatar Canadian Yankee

          When you committ a crime you loose many of your first ammendment rights. Hair cuts being the least of them.

          1. Rev'd Andrew's Avatar Rev'd Andrew

            You don't lose your religious rights. That's why there are chaplins and chapels in prisons.

          2. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

            You lose some rights. Not all of them. Try to cope.

            1. Canadian Yankee's Avatar Canadian Yankee

              Arguing with a cat rarely accomplishes anything, But if you will have someone read you what I wrote you will hear I said many not all.

              1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

                I was referring to your comment that hair cutting was unimportant. Try to keep up.

      5. Rev'd Andrew's Avatar Rev'd Andrew

        I recommend you do a little research before making ignorant comments:

        "Mr. Landor was wary of the state’s prison system, and he kept a copy of a 2017 judicial decision with him. That ruling, from a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, said that Rastafarian inmates in Louisiana must be allowed to keep their dreadlocks under a 2000 federal law protecting prisoners’ religious freedom.

        The first four months of Mr. Landor’s incarceration were uneventful. Then he was transferred to the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center in Cottonport, La. He presented a copy of the 2017 decision to a guard, who threw it in the trash.

        After consulting the warden, two guards handcuffed Mr. Landor to a chair, held him down and shaved his head to the scalp."

  1. Mike's Avatar Mike

    I know an Amish man who was sentenced to 14 years of prison because he led a group of other men to forcibly shave off the beard of a young Amish lad who came out of the closet. 14 years! Why so long? Because the prosecuting attorney convinced the judge that it constituted a "hate crime."

    Not only is this Rasta case a violation of the 1st Amendment, but should also be presented to the court as a hate crime. However, knowing how the courts have sided with police qualified immunity in the past, I hold little hope that justice will prevail.

    1. pjm's Avatar pjm

      I disagree. What you are citing is apples and oranges and no comparison. The Amish boy did not break any laws. This man committed a crime and was sentenced to prison where he was treated exactly as all the other prisoners. His head being shaved is a direct result of the consequences of his own actions. Perhaps he should have considered all the ramifications of those illegal actions before committing a crime that carries an incarceration penalty. I'm so tired of people pimping out religion as an excuse for bad -- and even criminal -- behavior. It waters down the meaning of religion for everyone.

      1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

        Even in prison, people have certain rights. Don't like it? Too bad. They still have rights.

      2. Rev'd Andrew's Avatar Rev'd Andrew

        I make the same suggestion to you as I did to Daniel Gray: do some research before making baseless assertions.

        Here's some context to show that it isn't an "apples to oranges" comparison:

        "Mr. Landor was wary of the state’s prison system, and he kept a copy of a 2017 judicial decision with him. That ruling, from a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, said that Rastafarian inmates in Louisiana must be allowed to keep their dreadlocks under a 2000 federal law protecting prisoners’ religious freedom.

        The first four months of Mr. Landor’s incarceration were uneventful. Then he was transferred to the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center in Cottonport, La. He presented a copy of the 2017 decision to a guard, who threw it in the trash.

        After consulting the warden, two guards handcuffed Mr. Landor to a chair, held him down and shaved his head to the scalp."

    2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Nope sorry. IN the Amish case it was clear that he was an Amish religion member and its clear that under their religion you are supposed to grow a beard when you get married. As such if he was married then yes this violates his 1st Amendment rights and the people who did this deserve to be punished. The problem you are going to run into with this is by his own admission he never said anything about being a rastafarian until well AFTER his hair was cut. And that is what is going to cause him to lose the case. If he had said something while he was being booked then he would have a chance, but saying this afterword? where was his proof? By his own admission he never provided any.

      Sorry about his luck, but he is going to lose this case as well as the SCOTUS isnt going to hear it.

      1. Joe R Day's Avatar Joe R Day

        (From a previous post)

        "Did you bother to read the article, Daniel Gray?

        HE DID INFORM THEM BEFORE THEY CUT HIS HAIR.

        Despite informing the Louisiana Department of Corrections that his long hair was worn in accordance with his faith, Landor says he was cuffed to a prison table, held down, and had his head shaved by prison guards."

        What proof do you have for the claim "he never said anything about being a Rastafarian until well AFTER his hair was cut."

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    Before shaving the man's head it should have been determined if there was any danger because of them. An X-ray could show any weapons and a scan could have been done for contraband. Do they shave to locks of Jews and make them forgo headcoverings?

    This was wrong and the way it was done made it even worse. I hope the Supreme Court takes the case and finds for Landor.

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Really? REALLY? Name me one freaking jail that has an xray machine in it so you can be xrayed every time you have to leave and come back. You cannot be that silly, or can you?

      1. Robert James Ruhnke's Avatar Robert James Ruhnke

        Dreads can be sifted through and checked carefully, much unlike your ability converse with people without insulting them somehow, Grey. Your closeted racism is peaking out again, Grey.

        1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

          Greh is more Gollumesque.

      2. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

        Apparently you've never heard of or been subjected to a patdown in a prison.

  1. Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson's Avatar Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson

    Some folks who follow Norse Paganism, aka Heathenry, have successfully petitioned to have beards where they are usually not allowed. I've been Heathen since July 1989 and have found nothing in our Lore where the Holy Powers demand we look or dress in a certain way. Such things (in any religion) are Human interpretation and affectation in my view.

  1. John Alex Paxson's Avatar John Alex Paxson

    I believe once found 100% guilty and sent to prison, you lose all rights ...Prison is a punishment ...All prisons should be like the Black Dolphin.

    1. pjm's Avatar pjm

      Agreed. I think that's what many people seem to be missing in all this. Like everyone else, the man is responsible for the consequences of his own actions.

      1. Jlawson's Avatar Jlawson

        I agree very strongly do the crime spend the time

      2. Thomas P. Davis's Avatar Thomas P. Davis

        Not that I agree that prisons are the best options for rehabilitating someone, but as said above from the way that I was raised, your infringed upon someone else's rights to put you there, and while you are there you have lost your rights as a free man. I have taken a tour in a prison decades ago and they have some game rooms.

    2. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

      No, you don't lose all of your rights. Your comment shows how truly ignorant you are of American criminal law and practice. While Witches cannot possess athames in prison, hair is not a threat to anybody. This man's First Amendment rights were clearly violated.

  1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

    If ones religion was important to them, they would commit a crime that put it at risk.

    Cut the hair off and give a box of tissues.

  1. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

    This Supreme Court? No way. He's not a wealthy, white Christian. I have zero faith in the capacity of our current SCOTUS for compassion or fairness to anyone that isn't in the exact same demographic as their political sponsors. The only thing this poor guy has going for him with that group is that he's male, but he's a prisoner of color so he is in a very unfortunate position.

  1. Rev Ned's Avatar Rev Ned

    He should win!

  1. Elizabeth Jane Erbe Wilcox's Avatar Elizabeth Jane Erbe Wilcox

    No religion of any kind should have any special consideration. That includes not being taxed and being able to openly discriminate against our LGBTQIA2S+ community.

    With that said, and how things go in this country, I hope this man prevails with the Supreme Court.

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      He wont. The SCOTUS wont hear it. They get 2000 requests each year for their docket and they can only take maybe 20 or 30. They have a whole lot more important cases to look at then a guy who after he gets his head shaved now claims to be a rastafarian, something he should have said when he was being booked and didnt.

      And sorry the Court isnt harming your precious LGBTQIA2S+ community, just making them follow the same laws as everyone else has to.

      1. Tecla Caryl Loup's Avatar Tecla Caryl Loup

        Gee, I wonder if he was a Rastafarian BEFORE his arrest. Duh. Why else would he have dreadlocks????

        1. Manda's Avatar Manda

          Everyone that has dreadlocks is Rastafarian?

    2. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

      You just contracted yourself.

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        How exactly?

        1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

          You didn't contract yourself Daniel, Elizabeth did.

          She said no religion should get special consideration then hoped the Rastafarian won his court case for special consideration.

  1. Canadian Yankee's Avatar Canadian Yankee

    When convicted of a crime you loose many rights and one of those is to be handled with kid gloves in the prison system. If you can't do the time don't do the crime.

    1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

      You lose many rights. You don't lose them all. Try to accept that fact.

  1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

    He'll win. No question. Reminds me of the cop trash in the 60s shaving the hair of hippies.

  1. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

    Clear case of violation of human rights, civil rights, and First Amendment separation of church and state. Hair is sacred, and no one has the right to force being cut: EVER! It qualifies as a form of rape and enslavement! There has to be consequences: Sue those evil folk! Ruin their careers like they ruined your civil, human, and religious rights!

  1. Andrea Dominique Garcia's Avatar Andrea Dominique Garcia

    I have worked in prisons and jails for 10+ years and I also have lived in Jamaica and knew many Rasta elders . Jails and prisons are required to honor and make supplies available for every type of worship the inmates want to engage in - there was a little Satantic group that had mass every Sunday and the facility would provide them with black candles. Here in New Mexico our prisons have sweat lodges for the Native Americans . From my time in Jamaica I learned that dreads are incredibly important to those who are Rasta - they are like antennas to the universe and indicate that whoever wears dreads is living an ital life through good food and prayer . And I know that people will say that this particular man was not ital since he picked up a drug charge ( unless it was weed) BUT we know nothing about his story and the options that were available to him at the time he ended up choosing drugs as his best option . There have been other legal cases in the past in which the courts have sided with the Rasta thereby making Rasta a religious belief that is known by the courts . I have worked in many different facilities in NM and not one of those facilities shaves people's heads when they arrive - not sure if other facilities require a haircut upon intake but I would suspect most do not .

  1. Bobby Anthony Redd's Avatar Bobby Anthony Redd

    Oh he wants to claim his religion, we he is put in jail , was he following his religion when he broke the law, I was in prison, and yes my hair was cut, that's policy, you need to think, of your actions, if you were following your religion, you would have been in jail in the first place, unless your religion is possession of drugs,

    1. Tecla Caryl Loup's Avatar Tecla Caryl Loup

      Do we know what drug he possessed?? Rastas are quite well known for their use of cannabis.

  1. Alexander Arends's Avatar Alexander Arends

    Say he wants to join the military but is rejected because he refuses to cut his hair; are his rights violated? I am sorry but I hate seeing our judicial system overburdened with all these ridiculous law suits.

    1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

      It’s not ridiculous to him.

  1. Walter J. Holbrook's Avatar Walter J. Holbrook

    I really don't know how to address this subject. The prison system like the military is a form of indoctrination of programing the individual as well as punish.

  1. Dr Rohn's Avatar Dr Rohn

    It goes without saying that the lower courts have historically dismissed legal standings when it comes to minority defendants, most especially anyone incarcerated. The higher courts, less obvious but still demonstrate underlying prejudice when pro se litigants (especially incarcerated individuals) file. Overall, however, there are better chances for a favorable decision in higher courts. As for monetary compensation, unfortunately one cannot sue someone acting under the color of law in their official capacity. The catch then becomes. Can you prove a pattern of abuse (prejudice) by the individual issuing the order to violate the rights? Perhaps then, you could sue that individual outside of the protection clause showing that individual acted on their personal prejudices knowing that those actions were a violation of religious rights. But no matter, the absence of culpability afforded the abuse, which in turn resulted in the desired outcome. The dreds are gone and now the religious individuality errased from that inmate. The bottom line? Once incarcerated, one looses their voice and are subjugated by prejudicial, bigoted, simple-minded, power and control persons who know they can "get away" with whatever they choose to do to you. Grow your hair back and your vigilance to the truth that is the unconditional tolerance of God. EOS will come for most.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    Are Christians getting their heads shaved too?

    1. pjm's Avatar pjm

      Sure, if they've committed a crime and were incarcerated in the same prison where all the convicted criminals have their heads shaved.

    2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Yes they are.

    3. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

      Lol, of course they get any dreads cut loose. Golly do you have an axe to grind.

    4. Rev. Mike Eggleston's Avatar Rev. Mike Eggleston

      What about female prisoners? Are their heads shaved too? Sauce for the goose....

    5. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

      Christianity does not have rules prohibiting cutting hair.

  1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

    Super duper simple solution that will never happen.

    Those who commit victimless crimes or non violent crimes get flogged and sent home the same day.

    Rapists get castrated and imprisoned. Violent criminals get flogged then imprisoned and flogged again prior release.

    Murderers get executed quick and now. Appeal to whatever god they feel like.

    Nobody's gonna worry about hair. Nope.

    1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

      Wow SOJ, I think you've been doing a lot of reading in the OT lately. Harsh! LOL

      1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

        SOL is simply vile.

        1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

          That's not true. SOJ is a good man with sincere beliefs. Speaking thusly of a fellow minister is a personal attack of the worst kind. The guidelines say that we are to avoid insults and derogatory comments.

    2. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

      You're clearly not speaking of the US. We're not that level of barbarian here.

      1. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

        Yet.

    3. Rev. Mike Eggleston's Avatar Rev. Mike Eggleston

      I presume you want that to apply to female prisoners too.

    4. Thomas P. Davis's Avatar Thomas P. Davis

      My friend and I here at work were both against capital punishment and prisons in general. All the taxpayer money used to house these individuals that could be used for the truly needy. All the abuse the prison guards go through etc. Our idea was to find empty tropical islands (no need to provide a heat source during the winter months.) then place all the thieves on one, all the murderers on another, all the rapist on another (they should get along fine since they all share the same interest) and let them live like Robison Crusoe. My brother told me once that the Indians of old would do this with individuals that were convicted of a crime. They would give the sentenced individual a knife and a blanket and canoe them over to a deserted island and tell them they will be back in x number of years to pick them up. My brother also told me that in the old days overseas the prison cells came complete with a bottle of poison, so if the individual couldn't take it anymore, he could just drink and be gone.

      1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

        Wow. I honestly don't know how to react to all of that information. Given the number of prisoners we currently have, the poison bottle seems the only viable option of those you provided.

  1. James Thomas's Avatar James Thomas

    I have seen those dreadlocks literally hollow and full of lice; and had to be shorn for health reasons. In the NFL, black players call the dreadlocks “ stinkheads “. Just my 2 cents. Prisons have security policies which maintain safety and “good order” that are generally upheld in court.

    1. Rev'd Andrew's Avatar Rev'd Andrew

      That's a mighty-fine case of xenophobia you have there! Well-maintained dreads are neither stinky nor "full of lice". As for what the court upholds:

      "Mr. Landor was wary of the state’s prison system, and he kept a copy of a 2017 judicial decision with him. That ruling, from a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, said that Rastafarian inmates in Louisiana must be allowed to keep their dreadlocks under a 2000 federal law protecting prisoners’ religious freedom.

      The first four months of Mr. Landor’s incarceration were uneventful. Then he was transferred to the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center in Cottonport, La. He presented a copy of the 2017 decision to a guard, who threw it in the trash.

      After consulting the warden, two guards handcuffed Mr. Landor to a chair, held him down and shaved his head to the scalp."

      He had a judicial decision which was explicitly ignored by the prison guards. Not only should he win his case, the guards responsible should be charged with religious hate crimes.

  1. Thomas Edwin Peterson's Avatar Thomas Edwin Peterson

    Prisons do the shaven practice due to vermin lice etc that becomes a giant problem in such establishment's. Just like spraying inmates in pits etc. in being forced he wasn't responsible for being shaven thus he did his part by objecting. Violence is not the answer in retaliation. meditation and or Prayer is. Upon conviction anyone knows the procedures that occur for the most part. His attorney should have educated him . Regardless of whether the Atty is paid by him or State appointed. Regards.

  1. Steven Ferrell's Avatar Steven Ferrell

    If anyone understands the prison system, that is for safety reasons that it has to be cut.
    Fights happen in prisons and that hair could cause safety concerns should another prisoner decide to grab hold by of if from the back, hurling the head back violently.
    As they also find ways to make sharp objects, that hair could then be cut and made into a noose to commit suicide.

    1. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

      So, Steven Ferrell, wouldn't that apply to ANYTHING that could be grabbed during a fight?

      Penises? Testicles?

    2. Dr Rohn's Avatar Dr Rohn

      Although your argument holds reason. And one could add that long dreadlocks may be used to conceal weapons or other contraband. Now the counter to your point. It remains a concern that prison officials use, "institutional security" as an excuse to abuse those they are charged with the care and custody of. Should a situation arise to give cause to a religious restriction, then other means, the least restrictive, are to be implemented as a first response. Also, historically, not all but many prison officials have great prejudices and power and control issues and know they are immune from prosecution in most cases so there is little deterrence to abuse of power. Ergo, they are free to do what they want to whom they want, when they want.

    3. Rev'd Andrew's Avatar Rev'd Andrew

      Just as Hassidic Jews do not get their hair cut when in prison, neither do Rastafarians because how they wear their hair is "a central tenet of their religious beliefs." A 2017 Judicial decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals enshrined that right into law. The man will win, and those guards will (hopefully) do time.

      1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

        Andrew, you hope the guards will do time for cutting his hair in accordance with prison guidelines? That's a bit much.

        1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

          No. We both hope they will do time for violating the First Amendment. Violating someone’s Constitutional rights may seem like a small matter to some, but the law seems to think they’re pretty important.

  1. Joe R Day's Avatar Joe R Day

    So, a male human is arrested for "five-month prison sentence for drug possession". The dreadlocks he had grown for 20+ years were forcibly removed, even though he told them they were part of his religious beliefs... To me, this is a case of 'Authority Over Personal Belief'... Mighty prison clippers take their toll and show the other inmates how 'powerful' they are. JMO, the SCOTUS will decline hearing the case and (hopefully) he will be out of confinement by then. Look for the prison staff to add any infraction (inciting fellow prisoners protest ill treatment is just one) to his sentence, just for 'spite'...
    Just another reason to never go to Louisiana lol. I've been there before, had a Blast! But I would never live there... Even though I'm caucasian.

    1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

      It’s not called Lousyana for nothing.

  1. Rev. Rosalinda T.'s Avatar Rev. Rosalinda T.

    That's tough! Though his religious reasons are understandable. They can argue safety concerns that he can hide contraband in his locks. Him seeking monetary damages would be tough but who knows 🤷‍♀️

    1. Rev. Mike Eggleston's Avatar Rev. Mike Eggleston

      You make a good case for shaving female prisoners' heads too.

  1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

    Cutting his hair did not present a substantial burden to his faith and was in conformity with prison policy for all prisoners. I doubt the SCOTUS will take it up..

    1. Rev'd Andrew's Avatar Rev'd Andrew

      Wrong. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals already ruled on this in 2017. The vow of Solomon is an "essential tenet" of his religious belief, and therefore the prison guards are explicitly prevented from cutting his hair.

      1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

        If you are correct, then it seems that solitary confinement is an option.

  1. LL's Avatar LL

    Prison is for CRIMINALS not RELIGION. What is next !? If you want the freedom to Practice and follow your faith..DO NOT BE A CRIMINAL.

    1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

      Don’t like our pesky Constitution? I hope you don’t live in the US.

    2. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

      In the United States, people who are incarcerated do not lose all of their rights. That is our LAW. Funny how you seem to support the law to punish people but not to uphold their rights. Why is that?

  1. Yolanda Sherese Thomas's Avatar Yolanda Sherese Thomas

    They are dead wrong

  1. Leslie Susan Conaway's Avatar Leslie Susan Conaway

    I believe this was the current crime they have and the others listed below this: St. Tammany Parish jury found Damon Jamel Landor, 40, of Slidell, guilty as charged Friday (June 28) of possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, and possession of amphetamine.

    Landor has the following prior convictions: distribution of cocaine, distribution of imitation/fraudulent controlled dangerous substance, and possession of cocaine, all in 1998; and misdemeanor battery of a police officer in 2014 and 2018. He also was on federal parole for a conspiracy to distribute cocaine conviction in 2004 but is now facing revocation.

  1. Thomas Edwin Peterson's Avatar Thomas Edwin Peterson

    When in a strange place or country. Don't have illegal things in your possession. Once arrested things go south much worse than he received. Imo he got off easy.

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