TENNESSEE COLONY, Texas – A Texas inmate wants to connect to the spirits of his dead parents, but prison officials have prohibited him from possessing a lock of their hair he says he needs for a Native American religious ritual.
William Chance says the small pieces of hair will allow him to properly mourn the deaths of his parents.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials say the hair poses a security risk because it would be supplied to the inmate by a family member, not a vendor approved by the prison agency.
A federal appeals court has rejected other religious issues the 57-year-old Chance has raised in a lawsuit but says the hair appears to be harmless. The case is likely to go to trial early next year in Tyler.