Prison guards forced a Black inmate to chop off his dreadlocks. Now he's suing.

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Hair discrimination in prison? Black man was forced to cut dreadlocks

  • A Kentucky state prison warden issued a memo banning braids, cornrows or dreadlocks for inmates being moved in or out of a facility or in solitary confinement.
  • Carlos Thurman, 50, alleges in a federal lawsuit that his Constitutional rights were discriminated against by the prison’s policy and by his locs being forcibly cut.
  • Experts say hair discrimination that targets natural or protective Black hairstyles requires legislative action – so far at least 17 states have enacted a version of the CROWN Act.

The February 2021 prison memo sent by Warden Brad Adams was clear.

“Effective immediately” inmates in the medium-security, all-male prison known as the Northpoint Training Center in central Kentucky, would need to have “searchable hair” if they traveled in or out of the facility – to court, another institution, or to the hospital – or were placed in solitary confinement.

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