Court: Ex-con can sue over sheared dreadlocks

January 13, 2012 3:30:43 PM PST
Dreadlocks, Bob Marley and an unwanted haircut.

Those are the unlikely subjects of an opinion issued on Friday by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

A three-judge panel devotes 11 pages to explaining why a former inmate at Illinois' Big Muddy Correctional Center, Omar Grayson, can go ahead and sue a prison officer who forced him to shear his thick, braided locks.

The opinion even includes a photograph of Reggae superstar Marley to illustrate what dreadlocks look like. Marley died in 1981.

Grayson's a member of the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem and claimed the haircut violated his religious rights.

The appellate court notes the prison allows committed Rastafarians to keep dreadlocks but appeared to discriminate against other religions that also hold long hair in high esteem.

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