Delano

Former Rastafari claims he was harassed as guard at North Kern State Prison

Former Rastafari claims he was harassed as guard at North Kern State Prison
File

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A former California prison guard who alleges he was harassed for wearing a beard and dreadlocks in accordance with his Rastafari religion is suing the state corrections department.

The Fresno Bee reports that Solomon Stanley claims to have received special dispensation from a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation rule requiring guards to keep their faces bare and their hair no longer than their shirt collars.

But in a pair of lawsuits alleging a violation of his religious rights, Stanley says new leaders at North Kern State Prison in Delano ordered him to cut his hair while fellow guards there called him "Bob Marley" and "Rastaman." The 47-year-old Visalia resident says he retired on stress-related disability in Dec. 2011.

North Kern prison spokesman Lt. George Becerra says he could not comment because of the ongoing lawsuits.