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.
Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to email@example.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBTQ issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBTQ rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.