Staff Confiscated Hijab, Called it a “Rag” and “Contraband”
Washington, DC –Today, Muslim Advocates sent a letter of concern about the treatment of a Muslim woman housed in the Leavenworth Detention Center (LDC), a contract facility for the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) operated by CoreCivic, a private prison company. As detailed in the letter, since last year Ms. Valeriece Ealom has been subjected to a pattern of discrimination and harassment from CoreCivic staff employed at LDC.
Despite Ms. Ealom’s numerous complaints, CoreCivic correctional officers have repeatedly harassed her by referring to her headscarf as a “rag” and ordering her to remove it; barred her from accessing her medication as retaliation for filing grievances, and confiscated one of her headscarves as “contraband”–even though it had been provided to Ms. Ealom by the LDC chaplain.
“The actions that have taken place in the Leavenworth Detention Center are in clear violation of federal law,” said Nimra Azmi, staff attorney for Muslim Advocates. “CoreCivic and the U.S. Marshals Service have a clear obligation to correct this mistreat and ensure that Ms. Ealom and other Muslim women detainees can practice their faith freely and without fear of retaliation.”
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.