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MILLEDGEVILLE, GA. — An inmate has sued the state Department of Corrections, saying prison guards violated his rights by forcing him to cut his dreadlocks.

Georgia prisons require inmates to keep their hair shorter than 3 inches on top and above their ears and collar. Bryan Kawand Sims, who is serving a life sentence for armed robbery and aggravated assault, says he should be granted a religious exemption to grow dreadlocks up to 3 feet long as a follower of the Rastafarian faith.

Sims says he’s twice been denied an exemption because prison officials don’t recognize Rastafarianism as a religion.

A Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

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