Prison Disturbance Spurred By Haircut
DOUGLAS, Ariz. (AP) _ About 100 inmates refused to leave a recreation yard and shattered lights and windows with rocks Wednesday after officers handcuffed a prisoner and cut his hair against his will, a prison spokesman said.
No injuries were suffered in the disturbance at the Apache Unit at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Douglas, which ended with the prison’s tactical support unit moving inmates back into dormitories, said corrections department spokesman Michael Arra.
Acting Capt. Charles Perkins had ordered inmate Michael Masoner, 21, to get a haircut, but Masoner refused, saying it was against his Sikh religion, according to Arra.
″Perkins apparently determined on his own that Masoner wasn’t a Sikh,″ Arra said, and, with the help of four other officers, handcuffed the prisoner and cut his hair. Other inmates witnessed the incident, Arra said. ″Things began to percolate″ at the 400-bed medium security prison after the incident, Arra said.
After dinner, about 100 inmates refused to leave the prison yard, he said. They threw rocks, causing $2,000 damage to lights and windows.
Arra said two officers were struck, but were apparently unhurt.
Masoner was returned to his own cell Wednesday night to show other prisoners that he had not been injured, Arra said.
Arra said prison officials did not anticipate further violence and added that normal Thanksgiving visitation was planned for Thursday.
He said Perkins ″used poor judgment and arbitrarily used a show of force in front of inmates.″
Perkins has been returned to his regular rank as a lieutenent, Arra said, and will be transfered to another unit within the Douglas complex.
The Department of Corrections does not have a policy regarding hair length, although one is being planned, Arra added.
The incident will be investigated by the department, he said.
Masoner is serving a four-year sentence out of Maricopa County for trafficking in stolen property, theft and possession of marijuana, Arra said.