Ky. jail changes religious clothing policy after woman was forced to remove her hijab
Prior to the changes, anyone wearing head coverings, regardless of what it was, had to remove the head coverings when being booked at the jail
By Beth Musgrave
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Fayette County Detention Center is changing its rules regarding religious clothing after a complaint from a Muslim woman who was told to remove her hijab while being processed at the jail.
The new policy will allow people to wear religious clothing, including Islamic hijabs, Jewish kippas and Sikh turbans.
If it is necessary for the person to remove the religious clothing for security reasons, such as an inspection, it will be done in the presence of a same-sex staffer in a private area, the new policy said.
People will also allowed to wear those religious garments in booking photos if their face is clearly visible, the jail said in a statement released Wednesday.
Scott Colvin, director of the Fayette County Detention Center, developed the new policies after receiving a complaint that a Muslim woman was told to remove her hijab. The Council on American-Islamic Relations asked Colvin to look at the jail’s policies after the incident.
The council helped Colvin and the jail draft new policies.
“While concluding that the current policy is religion-neutral and that corrections officers followed the policy, Colvin worked with CAIR to identify new practices that strive to better balance institutional security needs with religious practices,” the statement from the jail read.
Prior to the changes, anyone wearing head coverings, regardless of what it was, had to remove the head coverings when being booked at the jail.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations contacted Colvin and the jail in late July after a Muslim woman reported she was asked to remove her hijab in a public space at the detention center. The woman was arrested by University of Kentucky police on a traffic-related violation.
Colvin expects the new policy to be finalized within 30 days and take immediate effect, the jail said in a news release Wednesday.