Eastern: Trans inmate files suit
Updated: May 3, 2018 at 6:40 pm
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POLKTON, N.C. — Jennifer Ann Jasmaine, a 40-year-old transgender witch inmate at the all-male Lanesboro Correctional Institution, has filed a handwritten, federal lawsuit against the prison over religious liberty.
Jasmaine asserted that Lanesboro is blocking the practice of her spiritual beliefs, rooted in witchcraft, The Charlotte Observer reported.
In 2015, she filed a suit on the same grounds against Maury Correctional Institute in Hookerton. At that time she was going by the name of Duane Fox.
The Observer added that Jasmaine said the chaplains in charge of religious services at Lanesboro had violated her constitutional rights by restricting when, where and how she can practice Wicca, the modern-day religion based on ancient pagan beliefs. Christian and traditional Native American worshippers are given space to conduct their practices, she stated. However, she claims that she has been denied the food, clothing and religious items needed to hold outdoor services twice a week, as well as permission to light candles and a fire. Additionally, in order to be able to practice a religion unrecognized by the prison system, inmates are required to fill out a religious assistance request form. The complaint states that she had done so, but had not received accommodations.
The prison also has refused to provide the foods Wiccans are supposed to eat, her lawsuit said.
Inmates are to be afforded “reasonable religious menu accommodations” with regard to religious dietary laws, according to state policy. In this case, Jasmaine said that she was a vegan and had been denied that by prison officials.
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About the author: Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 704-531-9988, x205.