TDCJ Inmate Wonders What's A Dude Gotta Do To Get His Wicca On In Prison
Michelle Lyons, the director of public information for the state's prison system, told Hair Balls, "He was not moved to Huntsville for any reason related to the lawsuit." She added that the Lopez Unit in Edinburg, where Roberts stayed for about two years, is more of a short-term facility.
It is an interesting coincidence, though, and it'd be really interesting if Huntsville just happened to have a few practicing Wiccans. Lyons wasn't sure if it did, but she said there are Wiccans at a state prison near Sugar Land. (Update: Lyons said there are five Wiccans in Roberts' new unit.)
In the lawsuit filed in August in federal court, Roberts, who was sentenced in 2007 for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, claims that he tried for a year to get prison officials to give him "things for my religion, but they have not tried to get anything." For the lack of trying, Roberts wants $500,000 for each of the three defendants he names in the suit.
According to a Wiccan Web site:
Wicca is a deep appreciation and awe in watching the sunrise and sunset, the forest in the light of a glowing moon, a meadow enchanted by the first light of day. It is the morning dew on the petals of a beautiful flower, the gentle caress of a warm summer breeze upon your skin, or the warmth of the summer sun on your face.Just like prison!
According to the lawsuit, the state listed his religion as non-denominational, despite telling the person doing his intake that he was Wiccan. It was never corrected, despite his attempts, and the prison chaplain repeatedly refused to get him any Wiccan books or Pentagrams, Roberts wrote in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit could be brushed off as nonsense, but the prison might be taking it at least a bit seriously because in April, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the complaint of Robbie Newby, an inmate who filed a lawsuit because the chaplain at the Roach Unit in Childress wouldn't lead Buddhist services.