The Official Recognition of Bob Marley’s Rastafarianism Gets Prison Inmates In Jovial Mood

Alap Naik Desai

The recognition of Rastafarianism, made famous by reggae singer Bob Marley, has caused a wave of joy amidst prison inmates across the country.

Owing to official recognition of Rastafarianism by the prison administration, the prisoners will now have easier access to Bob Marley CDs, drums, and shakers. Prison Chiefs have decided to offer multiple liberties, save for one; inmates cannot smoke marijuana.

New rules mean Rastafarianism is an approved religion alongside Christianity, Islam, and other major faiths. The revision of the rules was meant to ensure Rastafarian prisoners could pray together in a "fulsome and harmonious way." However, one major component of the religious practice has been strictly prohibited and that is smoking of cannabis. Owing to the highly strict "No Drugs in Jail" policy, prisoners won't have any official permission or access to marijuana, reported UK Newsday.

Nonetheless, prisoners will be able to celebrate multiple "festivals" and will be given access to a "Rastafari Heritage Resource Pack," which includes a list of "allowed items" provided by the National Rastafari Chaplaincy for weekly "Groundation" (Holy Day) ceremonies. Most notable items in them are a CD or DVD of Rastafari drumming, music, and chanting -- including popular reggae tracks by Bob Marley -- and percussion instruments. Additionally prisoners will also be given a small Rastafarian flag, a picture of Haile Selassie, a selection of his speeches, and a copy of the King James Bible. Looks like everything associated with Rastafari is present except cannabis, reported Daily Mail.

The prison system consists of a highly varied group of individuals and it is the administration's primary responsibility to ensure religious sentiments aren't hurt. Hence there were 17 religions recognized and Rastafari has now become the 18th.

Rastafari was actively followed by Bob Marley, but his iconic portrayal with the star shown smoking, what was clearly implied as marijuana, ensured the "religion" got a cult following. It is believed than many chose to follow the religion that Bob Marley followed, primarily because it appeared to promote the smoking of the illicit drug.

Smoking of marijuana has being the symbol of the freedom loving nomadic youth commonly referred to as hippies. Interestingly, the US Government had recently eased up on the jurisdiction surrounding casual use of the drug that is known to cause hallucinations and temporary lack of judgment and even motor control. The government has now apparently listed the drug under recreational drugs, but prisoners have to merely enjoy the subliminal message of the religion without the induced effects of the drug that Bob Marley is shown smoking.

[Images Via Bing]