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$45,000 Awarded to Muslim Woman Forced to Remove Headscarf at California Jail

On October 8, 2008, the County of San Bernadino and Sheriff Gary Penrod agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) and the First Amendment.

Jameelah Medina, a practicing Muslim, was forced to remove her headscarf after being taken to the West Valley Detention Center. Headscarves are worn by Muslim women as a sign of modesty while in the presence of men.

Medina sued San Bernadino County and the sheriff alleging violations of RLUIPA and the First Amendment. The county agreed to settle the suit for $45,000. In addition, the county agreed to change its policy on the wearing of headscarves. Headscarves under the new policy can be worn when women are within sight of men. The county also agreed to train jail staff about the requirements of the new policy. Medina was represented by the ACLU. See: Medina v. County of San Bernadino, 5:07-CV-01600 – VAP-OP (C.D. Cal. 2008).

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Related legal case

Medina v. County of San Bernadino

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