Sikh immigrant, 64, compelled to shave in Arizona jail

A 64-year-old Sikh immigrant who was compelled to cut his beard in an Arizona prison has called on the United States Justice Department to explore it as an violation of religious freedoms.

The problem stated that unless the Justice Department investigates the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation as well as Reentry (ADCRR) for this “transgression and also takes immediate enforcement action, other ADCRR detainees will experience similar violations of their legal rights.”

Surjit Singh was punished to five years in prison for manslaughter in a case from 2017. He was nabbed on 21 August 2020 following his sentencing. Singh is presently jailed at the Whetstone Unit in Tucson operated by the ADCRR.

The grievance was submitted by attorneys with the Sikh Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and also Belief, the ACLU National Prison Project and also WilmerHale LLP.

It declares that on 25 August 2020, the ADCRR officials forcibly shaved his religiously mandated beard without giving him the possibility to object, even as they were lengthy aware of Singh’s restricted English effectiveness and also the truth that his native language is Punjabi.

According to the problem, at one factor during his challenge, Singh claimed “reduce my throat, however don’t cut my beard!” He was ultimately cuffed and his beard was cut.

” ADCRR has failed to offer ample language help, therefore refuting him meaningful access to jail programs as well as solutions,” the grievance claimed.

The 11-page grievance stated the only language assistance Singh obtained while being by force shaved came “from an ADCRR personnel that talked Hindi, not Punjabi.”

The problem stated that the ADCRR “never given Singh with a Punjabi-speaking interpreter; nor has it offered equated versions of essential files, such as the prisoner manual, rules, as well as treatments he is needed to adhere to, or prison kinds he must fill out to make ask for spiritual holiday accommodations and physician visits.”

Because of this, the complaint stated, Singh had a hard time to connect with prison staff and encountered “trouble in acquiring a turban.”

The legal representatives for Singh claimed that his therapy “has actually been nothing except outright”.

” Forcibly cutting his beard, which he had previously kept unshorn his entire life, clearly violated his legal rights under RLUIPA (Religious Land Use and also Institutionalized Persons Act), as did intimidating to shave him once again after his consumption based on the prison’s one-inch beard constraint plan,” it stated.

It alleges that the ADCRR’s face hair plans most likely violate the legal rights of many other detainees in the agency’s safekeeping whose faith requires them to maintain a beard.

They asked the Justice Department to examine these policies as well as their application.

” The DOJ ought to take whatever steps are needed to guarantee that the ADCRR embraces a clear, easy-to-follow religious accommodation procedure about its face hair plans which these and also various other vital plans and papers are equated for prisoners with restricted English efficiency,” it demanded.

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