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April 23, 2014
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British prison recognises rastafarianism as a religion
Bjorn Burke, Staff Reporter

Alongside Christianity, Islam and others, Rastafarianism is now recognised as a religion in British prisons, allowing Rastafarians to actively practise their way of life.

Rastafarianism, often referred to as a "Way of life" by believer, has been widely dubbed a religion by prison officials who last November signed off on recognising the doctrine, allowing adherents to worship without difficulty. Rastafarianism is noted to be one of 18 religions recognised in British penal institutions.

According to the Daily Mail, prisoners who identify themselves as Rastafarians are provided with paraphernalia in a package dubbed, the 'Rastafari Heritage Resource Pack'.

The package includes Bob Marley CDs, drums and shakers. The resource pack was created in aid of providing adherents with appropriate tools for worship.

Additionally, a copy of the King James Bible, a Rastafarian flag and a picture of Haile Selassie, coupled with a selection of his speeches, are granted to the demographic.

Alas, one major snag experienced by the group is the absence of an important Rastafarian sacrament, marijuana. The community is noted as having been barred from smoking the illicit drug in prisons.

THE STAR gathered that the policy change came into effect when an inmate appealed to the prisons and probation ombudsman, Nigel Newcomen, who ruled that the Prison Service was in breach of the Equality Act 2010, and said Rastafarianism should be recognised.

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