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COLE v. FULCOMER

May 15, 1984

EUGENE COLE, Plaintiff
v.
THOMAS A. FULCOMER, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MUIR

 I. Introduction.

 II. Findings of Fact.

 1. Plaintiff Eugene Cole is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Huntingdon.

 2. Defendant Thomas A. Fulcomer is the superintendent at the state correctional institution at Huntingdon.

 3. Cole was born on February 29, 1956 at Wichita, Kansas, the son of a Caucasian mother and a Cherokee Indian father.

 4. Cole adheres to Native American culture and the traditional religious beliefs embodied in that culture.

 5. Cole sincerely believes in a "Great Spirit" which is inextricably bound in with nature.

 6. Cole sincerely believes that long hair is symbolic of the Great Spirit and that interference with hair growth is interference with his spiritual world.

 7. In March 1982, Cole was committed to the custody of correctional authorities at Huntingdon.

 8. Upon Cole's arrival at Huntingdon, a correctional officer confiscated from Cole an eagle feather which Cole considered his sacred prayer feather.

 9. Administrative Directive 807 promulgated by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Correction sets grooming standards for inmates confined at Huntingdon.

 10. Administrative Directive 807 states that "The purpose of this directive is to establish guidelines for resident grooming that permit individuality and are consistent with practices in the community." It does not relate hair length to prison security.

 11. Administrative Directive 807 provides that, with regard to male hair styles "Hair that does not fall below the top of the collar in length, a beard or goatee no longer than three inches, a moustache and sideburns shall be permitted provided they are neat and clean." Administrative Directive 807 does not impose any restriction on hair length for female inmates.

 11A. Prior to the adoption and implementation of Administrative Directive 807 in 1972, inmates at state correctional institutions were required to wear their hair short.

 12. On January 4, 1983, when Cole's hair was longer than permitted by Administrative Directive 807, a correctional officer ordered Cole to get his hair cut to conform therewith. Cole refused to follow this order. The correctional officer then issued a misconduct report charging Cole with refusing to obey the order to get his hair cut.

 13. On January 6, 1983, the Huntingdon hearing committee convened to dispose of Cole's misconduct report. At the hearing, Cole contended that it was against his religious beliefs stemming from his heritage as a Cherokee to get his hair cut. The hearing committee found Cole guilty of refusing to obey the order and sentenced him to 30 days disciplinary confinement.

 14. Since January, 1983, Cole has submitted to prison officials' orders to get his hair cut in order to avoid further punishment.

 15. Inmates at Huntingdon are permitted "contact visits" with family and friends.

 16. Before a contact visit, inmates are required to change into special clothing before entering the visiting room. After removing his standard prison clothing, the inmate is strip-searched and moves, completely nude, into another room where he puts on the special clothing.

 17. After the visit, the aforementioned process is reversed and a strip search is performed.

 19. Administrative Directive 203, promulgated by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Correction, governs the procedure for searching an inmate.

 20. Administrative Directive 203 provides that strip searches of inmates shall be conducted "before and after ...


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