Sikhs Organize to Prevent Prisoner’s Forced Hair Cut

April 1, 2006

Source: Times of India

On April 1, 2006 the Times of India reported, "In a massive campaign to safeguard the religious rights of a Sikh prisoner in the US, Sikh organisations worldwide have lodged their protest against the jail authorities' move to cut his hair against his will. The Sikh Coalition, a US-based organisation initiated the move, and a petition has been addressed to Florida Governor Jeb Bush, secretary department of corrections, James McDonough and deputy secretary of corrections, Laura Bedard, to stop federal authorities from forcibly cutting Satnam Singh's hair and removing his turban. Satnam Singh, who is currently in a federal jail may have to go in for this 'makeover' after he is transferred to the Florida State System Jail on April 9. The Florida Administrative code notes, 'Male inmates shall have their hair cut short to medium uniform length at all times.' The section further states that 'All inmates shall be clean-shaven, provided, however that an exemption from this requirement shall be granted on the basis of a medical diagnosis.' If an inmate refuses to adhere to these grooming standards, even for faith-based reasons, the officer in charge 'shall direct staff to shave the inmate or cut the inmate's hair,' the rules state."