Associated Press, Aug. 20, 2002
MADISON, Wis. – A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a prison inmate can sue the state Department of Corrections because guards wouldn’t let him wear a Wiccan necklace.
Michael Grindemann, an inmate at the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution in Plymouth, said in a complaint the Corrections Department violated his First Amendment rights by denying him a Pentacle necklace.
The Pentacle is a piece of jewelry Wiccans wear around the neck representing the four ancient elements of life. The necklace is similar to a Catholic Rosary.
Grindemann said in his complaint he is a Wiccan but couldn’t wear his Pentacle because prison officials believed the symbol was associated with gangs. He said in his complaint the Oshkosh Correctional Institution doesn’t consider the Pentacle to be gang-related.
Judge Barbara Crabb made no ruling as to whether the symbol posed a security risk.