Prison likely to be harsh transition for Amish convicted in beard attacks
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013, 6:57 p.m.
CLEVELAND — Sixteen Amish men and women who have lived rural, self-sufficient lives surrounded by extended family and with little outside contact are facing regimented routines in a federal prison system where almost half of inmates are behind bars for drug offenses and where modern conveniences, such as television, will be a constant temptation.
Prison rules will allow the 10 men convicted in beard- and hair-cutting attacks on fellow Amish in eastern Ohio to keep their religiously important beards, but they must wear standard prison khaki or green work uniforms instead of the dark outfits they favor.
Jumper dresses will be an option for the six Amish women, who will be barred from wearing their typical long, dark dresses and bonnets.
It's unclear where the Amish will serve their sentences, but some of the nearest options include men's prisons in Elkton, a 90-minute drive southeast of Cleveland, and in Loretto, Cambria County, and women's prisons in Lexington, Ky., and Alderson, W.Va.
Some of the initial prison assignments include locations in Texas and Louisiana, according to a letter circulating among defense attorneys, and other assignments could come any day.
“Amish people grow up with very strong communal connections and large extended families and participating in community activities, so being suddenly severed from that and isolated would certainly be a major change,” said Donald Kraybill, a longtime Amish researcher and professor at Elizabethtown College in the heart of Pennsylvania's Amish country.
The defendants, all members of the same Amish sect, were convicted in September of hate crimes in 2011 attacks meant to shame fellow Amish they believed were straying from the strict religious interpretations espoused by the sect's leader.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Worker for Latrobe-based Xcoal on ill-fated flight
- Supreme Court ruling to affect few bicycle trails in Pennsylvania
- CSX makes deal with state on shipments of hazardous materials
- Gas tax could factor into Pennsylvania gubernatorial race
- Contract arranged Pennsylvania Game Commission director’s early exit
- Pennsylvania drug program portrayed as a life-saving tool
- Coroner: Pa. trooper’s pregnant wife died of gunshot
- Military veteran ID cards granted on honor system
- Robert Morris University Polling Institute poll finds value of college in doubt
- Oscar-winning director Demme’s ‘Outsider’ art collection set for sale
- Lawmaker: Responders should carry drug that counteracts opiates