AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
Law Journal Article: Religious Freedom in
Correctional Facilities (II) --Appearance and Apparel 2007 (4)
AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Rights of Rastafarian Employees and Inmates, 2015 (8) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.
A prisoner argued that Georgia prisons
enforced a grooming policy that violated his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
(RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq., by substantially burdening his exercise of
a sincerely held religious belief that Islam requires him to grow an uncut beard.
Overturning summary judgment for the defendants, a federal appeals court ruled
that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Holt
v. Hobbs, #13-6827, 574 U.S. ——, 135 S. Ct. 853, 190 L. Ed. 2d 747
(2015) (holding that the Arkansas Department of Corrections grooming
policy violated the RLUIPA insofar as it prevented a prisoner from
growing a ½-inch beard in accordance with his religious beliefs), made
the trial court’s analysis inadequate because it failed to analyze the
substantial burden placed on the prisoner’s religious beliefs, whether
correctional authorities had a compelling interest, or whether the least
restrictive means of furthering that interest was utilized. The plaintiff argued that by allowing medical but not
religious exemptions from the grooming policy, the defendants showed that they
were not utilizing the least restrictive means of furthering their interests in
security and hygiene. Smith v. Owens, #14-10981, (11th Cir.).
A Muslim prisoner claimed that his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. were violated by the prison's grooming regulations denying permission to grow a "fist-length" beard not to exceed four inches and to wear a religious kufi. The trial court upheld thesec claims, granting declaratory and injunctive relief. Upholding this result, a federal appeals court agreed that the prison officials had not met their burden in failing to demonstrate that the prohibitions in question were the least restrictive means of furthering compelling interests in preventing contraband, providing inmate identification, orderly program administration, and cost control. Ali v. Stephens, #14-41165, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 7964 (5th Cir.).
Alabama correctional officials were properly granted a judgment in their favor on Native American inmates' claims that the failure to allow their hair unshorn as required by their religion violated their rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. The defendants presented ample evidence that their policy was necessary to accomplish a number of compelling goals, which included the prevention of concealment of contraband, facilitation of inmate identification, maintenance of good hygiene and health, and facilitation of prison discipline through uniformity. It was also proven that the hair-length policy was the least restrictive means of furthering these compelling governmental interests. Knight v. Thompson, #12-11926, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 13668 (11th Cir.).
The U.S. Supreme Court held that a correctional policy that prohibited prisoners from growing beards (with an exception for inmates with a diagnosed skin condition allowed to grow 1/4 inch beards) violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000cc-1(a), when used to deny a sincerely devout Muslim prisoner the right to grow a 1/2-inch beard as required by his religious beliefs. The rights granted by the statute are not limited to beliefs shared by all practitioners of a religion. The defendants failed to show that enforcing the policy in this manner served the stated compelling interests in safety, keeping out contraband, and preventing inmates from quickly changing their appearance. It would be difficult to hide contraband by such a short beard, and hair on the head was allowed to be that length. It was not shown that security concerns could not be satisfied by searching such beards. Requiring prisoners to be photographed both with and without beards would be a less restrictive means of preventing them from being able to quickly change appearance, such as during an escape. The opinion noted that many other institutions allowed facial fair.Holt v. Hobbs, #13-6827, 2015 U.S. Lexis 626.
Prohibiting male Native American inmates from wearing their hair unshorn, as mandated by their religion, did not violate their rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. Correctional officials met their burden of showing that the hair-length policy amounted to the least restrictive means available of furthering compelling governmental interest such as facilitating inmate identification, preventing the introduction of contraband, encouraging prison discipline through uniformity, promoting good health and hygiene, and safeguarding public safety in the event of escapes during which inmates with long hair could quickly alter their appearances to prevent recapture. Knight v. Thompson, #12-11926, , 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 15247 (11th Cir.).
A prisoner who is a member of the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem took a "Nazirite vow," that committed him not to cut his hair. When he had to appear in court, the prison gave him a choice of either having a haircut to cut his dreadlocks or segregation as a punishment for avoiding his scheduled trip to court. He chose the haircut, but claimed that this violated his right to religious freedom. A federal appeals court rejected this claim, noting that the "Nazirite vow" was an optional rather than mandatory observance of his religion and that past precedent recognizes the validity of rules regulating prisoner's hairstyles for reasons of security. Lewis v. Sternes, #11-3297, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 6154 (7th Cir.).
It was against a Rastafarian prisoner's religious beliefs to comb or cut his hair, which he wore in dreadlocks. When he learned that his mother had cancer, he asked for a transfer to another facility closer to her, which was granted. When he was to be transported to his new facility, an officer allegedly refused to permit him to board the transport vehicle when he declined to comply with a state correctional policy requiring him to comb out his dreadlocks. The officer's supervisor then presented the plaintiff with a choice of either cutting his hair or not going through with the approved transfer. The prisoner offered instead to let the officers pat down his hair and use a metal detector to make sure that no contraband was hidden there. The transfer was canceled and the prisoner placed in administrative segregation. He was later transferred, after he cut his hair. A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of his lawsuit, finding no violation of his right to religious freedom, despite his argument that he was improperly forced to choose between violating his religious beliefs and going to a prison closer to his ill mother. The officers were entitled to qualified immunity, as it was not clearly established that enforcement of the policy that hair be cut or combed out violated the prisoner's rights. Stewart v. Beach, #12-3013, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 25846 (10th Cir.).
Because failure to grow a beard was considered a sin equivalent in severity to eating pork for a Muslim inmate, his lawsuit over a policy prohibiting him from growing a one-eighth inch beard stated a claim for violation of his right to religious freedom. Prison officials failed to adequately explain how their policy was justified by health or security concerns, or that they used the least restrictive means of satisfying a compelling governmental interest. Couch v. Jabe, #11-6560, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 9602 (4th Cir.).
After a prison chaplain allegedly advised him that only Rastafarianism requires the growing of dreadlocks, a correctional officer ordered that an African Hebrew Israelite inmate's dreadlocks be sheared. Summary judgment for the defendant officer was reversed. "Since heresy is not excluded from the protection of the free exercise clause, optional as distinct from mandatory religious observations aren't excluded either." If the prisoner's desire to grow dreadlocks was based on a sincere religious belief, it was entitled to protection, even if unorthodox, particularly if followers of another religion were allowed to wear dreadlocks. Grayson v. Schuler, #10-3256, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 730 (7th Cir.).
A Rastafarian prisoner claimed that a corrections officer violated his religious rights by touching his dreadlock hair without permission. While the jury held in favor of the prisoner, they only awarded nominal damages of $1. Under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(d)(2) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), the court's award of attorney's fees to the prevailing plaintiff were limited to 150% of the damage award, or $1.50. The appeals court noted that Congress, in granting a statutory right for prevailing plaintiffs in federal civil rights lawsuits to be granted attorneys' fees, departed from the normal rule in U.S. courts that litigants all pay their own attorneys' fees. It was accordingly also free to put a cap on such fees in cases brought by prisoners. Shepherd v. Goord, #10-4821, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 22928 (2nd Cir.).
An Orthodox Jewish prisoner failed to show that a prison's shaving policy, which limited beards to a length of 1/4 of an inch, violated his right to religious freedom. The policy was rationally related to a legitimate and substantial interest in maintaining prison security, and was the least restrictive means of accomplishing that objective. Kuperman v. Wrenn, #10-2083, 645 F.3d 69 (1st Cir. 2011).
A federal appeals court found that a prisoner had sufficiently alleged that disciplining him for refusing to comply with prison body-piercing regulations imposed a substantial burden on the exercise of his religious beliefs. The trial court had determined that these beliefs were sincerely held. The appeals court ordered further proceedings on whether the piercing regulation was the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest. Cortez v. Noll, #09-15690, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 20583 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
A California prisoner received several disciplinary citations for wearing a beard that he asserted he had to have for religious reasons. The regulations that prohibited the beard were amended so that his beard was no longer prohibited, but the disciplinary citations remained in his prison file, and he wanted them expunged, based on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person's Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, et seq. ("RLUIPA"). A federal appeals court ruled that the trial court improperly dismissed this claim. The state did not argue that the prisoner's rights under the statute had not been violated when the discipline occurred, and the fact that the citations remained in his file, and that harmful references to them could potentially be made, meant that his claim was not moot because the policy in question had been modified. His claims for expungement and injunctive relief would be considered upon remand. Quillar v. Calif. Dept. of Corrections, #08-15414, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 17462 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
A California state prisoner claimed that prison grooming regulations violated his right to religious freedom. While the trial court initially issued a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the regulations, ultimately it dismissed the prisoner's claims for lack of jurisdiction. It then nevertheless awarded the plaintiff prisoner attorneys' fees. A federal appeals court ruled that the attorneys' fee award was erroneous when the trial court never found an actual violation of the prisoner's rights. Kimbrough v. State of Cal.; #08-17231, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 13039 (9th Cir.).
An Illinois prisoner argued that forcing him to cut his dreadlocks, which he wore for religious reasons, violated his constitutional and statutory rights. The court found, however, that the policy at issue was justified by undisputed evidence that matted hair created a danger to both guards and officers from concealed weapons and other contraband. The court also found no evidence of unlawful "retaliation" in punishing the prisoner for disobeying direct orders to cut his hair, and commented that the prisoner's claim that prison authorities inconsistently implemented their hair length policy did not show a constitutional violation in the absence of any evidence that deviations from the policy were for illegitimate reasons. Williams v. Snyder, #08-1908, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 4777 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
A Native American prisoner's claims that his right to religious freedom was violated by regulations limiting his hair length and limiting his wearing of a medicine pouch were reinstated by a federal appeals court. The court ruled that the trial court had failed to consider whether wearing a small patch of long hair as a "kouplock" instead of a full head of long hair actually posed a security risk and failed to apply the proper "compelling governmental interest" and "least restrictive alternative" requirements to the medicine pouch restrictions. Odneal v. Pierce, #06-41165, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 7096 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A prison policy prohibiting all inmates from wearing beards unless they had a medical exception, which contained no religious exception, was properly upheld by the trial court based on security and discipline concerns, including the need to properly identify inmates and the possibility that contraband and weapons could be carried in beards. A proposed alternative policy allowing a religious exception for quarter-inch beards was not financially or administratively feasible, and the existing policy was therefore the "least restrictive means" of satisfying the discipline and security concerns. Gooden v. Crain, #08-40966, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 25656 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A Texas prisoner claimed that he had pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB), a medical condition on the basis of which he was issued a clipper shave pass (CSP) which constituted permission not to shave and to maintain a 1/4" beard. He further claimed that prison employees improperly threatened him with disciplinary action for failing to shave, imposed discipline on him on that basis, and declined to renew his CSP in retaliation for his complaints. These claims were all rejected, as the record indicated that the discipline was imposed for failing to maintain a 1/4" beard, not for failure to be clean-shaven. He also failed to show that his medical condition was serious and posed a risk of substantial harm, or that he was subjected to retaliation. James v. Ramirez, No. 07-50674, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 83 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
The hair length and facial hair policies of the Arkansas Department of Corrections were justified by the need to minimize the smuggling of contraband and reduce opportunities for prisoners disguising themselves by removing hair, and did not violate religious freedom rights under the First Amendment or under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc et seq. The court also rejected an equal protection claim based on valid reasons for differing hair length requirements for men and women. Additionally, there was evidence that longer beards created security and safety concerns absent when a prisoner is either clean shaven or has facial hair no longer than quarter-inch long. Appeals court also upholds an award of $1,500 to a prisoner on a claim that he was improperly not provided with Kosher meals. Fegans v. Norris, No. 06-3473, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 17072 (8th Cir.).
The New Jersey Department of Corrections' training academy no-facial hair policy was facially neutral and only incidentally burdened religious conduct. It was rationally related to compliance with federal and state health regulations concerning the use of respirator masks and to a concern about the esprit de corps, which comes from uniformity of appearance. It therefore did not violate the rights of a Muslim trainee removed from the training program when he failed, on three separate occasions, to keep his beard within parameters allowed to him as an accommodation of his religion. The policy would be lawful, the court stated, under any standard of review, including strict scrutiny. Valdes v. New Jersey, No. 07-2971, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 17380 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
Rastafarian prisoner presented a viable claim that his clearly established constitutional right to religious freedom and his federal statutory rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc-1(1)(1), (2) were violated by a prohibition on him growing his hair in dreadlocks. The warden was found to have acted in an objectively unreasonable manner in insisting that the prisoner be prohibited from growing dreadlocks. Further, the court reasoned that a decision by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to provide religious exceptions for hair grooming in its grooming code supported the prisoner's argument that growing his hair into dreadlocks was a legitimate part of his exercise of his religion. The warden failed to show that the dreadlocks would constitute a security problem. Johnson v. Collins, No. 3:07 CV 211, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 52127 (N.D. Ohio).
Two Rastafarian prisoners and three Muslim prisoners claimed that an inmate grooming policy prohibiting them from wearing beards violated their rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. §§ 2000cc to 2000cc-5. A federal appeals court rejected these claims, based on a record and established case law showing a need for suppressing contraband, maintaining discipline and security, maintaining inmate and staff health and safety, and preventing prisoners from quickly changing their appearance. The court also found that a suggested "less restrictive means" of serving these "compelling governmental interests," which was transferring inmates with such religious beliefs to other prison systems without similar grooming policies, was not "workable." McRae v. Johnson, No. 06-7548, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 246 (4th Cir.).
California prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity for the discipline of a Sikh inmate in 2001 and 2002 for refusing to cut his hair since it was not clearly established until 2005 in Warsoldier v. Woodford, No. 04-55879, 418 F.3d 989 (9th Cir. 2005), that a regulation requiring inmates to have short hair imposed a substantial burden on an inmate's practice of religion under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000cc-1(a). Haley v. Donovan, No. 06-55856, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 23236 (9th Cir.).
Grooming regulation that required a Rastafarian prisoner to cut his hair to a specified maximum length, in violation of his religious beliefs, did not violate his First Amendment rights because it was reasonably related to legitimate penological interests. Additionally it was not clearly established that it would violate a prisoner's Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to subject him to discipline for violating the regulation, so that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on those claims. The court's decision did not discuss the merits of the prisoner's claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act RLUIPA, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc(a)(1), which remains pending. Hypolite v. California Dept. of Corrections, No. CIV S-05-0428, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 55317 (E.D. Cal.).
State prison's grooming policy did not violate a Rastafarian prisoner's rights to religious freedom under either the First Amendment or the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc by punishing him for his religious practice of wearing his hair and beard uncut. The policy furthered compelling governmental interests in inmate identification, inmate health, staff safety, and institutional security, and the proposal that a religious exception to the policy be granted was not workable. Ragland v. Angelone, No. 7:02 CV 00786, 420 F. Supp. 2d 507 (W.D. Va. 2006). [N/R]
While inmate's belief that "the Creator Yahweh" mandated that he should not cut his hair was a sincerely held religious belief, a prison policy which limited "Afro style" hair length to four inches was reasonably related to legitimate prison interests in preventing the concealment and transportation of contraband, aiding in the identification of inmates, and improving inmate hygiene. These legitimate interests outweighed any rights the prisoner had to wear his hair in long dreadlocks. Meggett v. Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections, 892 A.2d 872 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006). [N/R]
Texas state prison policy prohibiting a Muslim prisoner from having a beard did not violate his right to religious freedom under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, because of the need for accurate pictures of inmates for security purposes. Additionally, he was not denied equal protection by the fact that inmates with certain skin conditions were allowed to have quarter-inch beards, since the policy prohibiting beards for other reasons was equally applied to all religious groups and was adopted for security purposes. Gooden v. Crain, No. 6:04cv127, 405 F. Supp. 2d 714 (E.D. Tex. 2005). [N/R]
New York prison regulations prohibiting a prisoner from wearing "corn row" braids if the hair went below the "natural hairline" did not violate his free speech or his equal protection rights as an African-American, but were justified by valid penological interests in security, including preventing prisoners from quickly changing their appearance after an escape and facilitating searches of hair for contraband. Towles v. Eagen, 799 N.Y.S.2d 715 (Sup. 2005). [N/R]
Overturning injunction allowing Native American prisoner to wear a "kouplock" (a square section at the base of the skull where the hair is allowed to grow long), federal appeals court finds that the trial judge failed to give proper deference to prison officials on the issue of whether long hair on a prisoner presented security problems. Hoevenaar v. Lazaroff, No. 03-4119, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 19361 (6th Cir.). [2005 JB Oct]
Native American inmate was improperly denied an injunction against California hair grooming policy which failed to provide a relig ious exemption to short hair requirement. Correctional officials failed to adequately show that this was the least restrictive means of achieving compelling interests in prison security. Warsoldier v. Woodford, No. 04-55879, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 15599 (9th Cir.). [2005 JB Sep]
Prisoner who is an adherent of the Hebrew Israelite/Nazarite religious group and wears "dreadlocks" as a result, stated a claim for violation of his right to practice his religion in challenging prison policy which limits "Afro style" hair to four inches in length. Trial court finds that there was a viable claim that the prisoner was entitled to a religious exemption from this grooming policy based on his sincerely held religious beliefs. Meggett v. Pa. Dept. of Corrections, 856 A.2d 277 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004). [N/R]
California prison regulation which prohibiting inmates from wearing long hair was reasonably related to legitimate penological interests such as security, hygiene, prison workplace safety, and prevention of escapes. Accordingly, the regulation did not violate either the First Amendment of a Native American prisoner or a federal statute concerning Native American religious freedom. Henderson v. Terhune, #02-17224, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 16613 (9th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Oct]
A policy of disciplining Muslim prisoners who missed their work assignments so that they could attend an hour long Friday Sabbath worship service violated their rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000cc, because this was not the least restrictive means of satisfying a compelling governmental interest in keeping prisoners occupied or of using their labor to support the upkeep of the prison. Court also rejects prison grooming policy that imposed penalties on Muslim prisoners who refused to shave their beards for religious reasons, as prison officials also failed to show that this was the least restrictive means of addressing concerns about prisoners' ability to quickly change their appearance after escape. Mayweathers v. Terhune, 328 F. Supp. 2d 1086 (E.D. Cal. 2004). [N/R]
Correctional employee's "non-theistic" spiritual belief that he should not cut his hair was not a protected religious belief sufficient to challenge the state correctional department's grooming policy, since it was merely based on his own "personal and philosophical" choices. His desire to "live simply and avoid excessive pride" did not qualify for a possible religious exemption from the grooming policy. Luken v. Brigano, #CA2003-01-007, 797 N.E.2d 1047 (Ohio. App. 12 Dist. 2003). [N/R]
Rastafarian prisoner's equal protection challenge against California prison hair length regulation should not have been dismissed for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies when defendant prison officials failed to establish such a failure to exhaust. Federal appeals court rules that failure to exhaust is a defense, with the burden on the defendants to establish it. Wyatt v. Terhune, #00-16568, 305 F.3d 1033 (9th Cir. 2002). [2003 JB Feb.]
Federal Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) action of housing federal prisoners who were Rastafarians or Muslims in Virginia state facilities with a grooming policy prohibiting long hair and beards violated the prisoners' rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Court orders BOP to transfer such prisoners to other facilities. Gartrell v. Ashcroft, 191 F. Supp. 2d 23 (D.D.C. 2002). [2002 JB Aug]
Rastafarian prisoner's claim that prison's denial of his request to wear dreadlocks violated his right to religious freedom and constituted sex discrimination was improperly dismissed by trial court without fair notice and opportunity to be heard being provided to prisoner, who was acting as his own lawyer. Appeals court also rules that exhaustion of remedies provision of Prison Litigation Reform Act is an affirmative defense, rather than a pleading requirement, with the burden on the defendants to show non-exhaustion. Wyatt v. Terhune, #00-16568, 280 F.3d 1238 (9th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Jun]
299:174 Muslim prisoner could pursue claim that his equal protection rights were violated by prison allowing inmates with certain medical conditions to wear three-quarter-inch beards while denying his request to wear a one-quarter-inch beard for religious purposes. Taylor v. Johnson, #00-21155, 257 F.2d 470 (5th Cir. 2001).
290:26 Requirement that Muslim prisoner be clean shaven, and not allowing him even a 1/4 inch beard, was not a violation of his rights, despite allowance of 3/4 inch beards for inmates with medical conditions aggravated by shaving. Green v. Polunsky, No. 00-40156, 229 F.3d 486 (5th Cir. 2000).
EDITOR'S NOTE: Other federal appeals courts considering the issue of short beards have upheld prison grooming policies. See Hines v. South Darolina Dept. of Corrections, 148 F.3d 353 (4th Cir. 1998); Harris v. Chapman, 97 F.3d 499 (11th Cir. 1996); and Friedman v. Arizona, 912 F.2d 328 (9th Cir. 1990).
It should also be noted that the above decision, while dated Oct. 18, 2000, almost a month after the enactment of the new federal "Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act," Public Law 106-274 (Sep. 22, 2000), see Jail & Prisoner Law Bulletin No. 287, p. 173 (Nov. 2000), does not apply the legal test stated in that statute, requiring that an action that imposes a substantial burden on religious practices or beliefs must be justified as in furtherance of a "compelling governmental interest" and used the "least restrictive means" of furthering that interest.
294:93 Virginia prison policy mandating short hair, which had no exception for religious objections, upheld by federal court as "neutral" policy with only "incidental" impact on religious practices; court rejects claim that different hair length standards for male and female prisoners violates equal protection. DeBlasio v. Johnson, 128 F. Supp. 2d 315 (E.D. Va. 2000).
284:118 Native American correctional officer should be allowed to wear his hair long (but pinned under his cap) to accommodate his religion, Ohio Supreme Court holds. Humphrey v. Lane, #99-206, 728 N.E.2d 1039 (Ohio 2000).
277:10 Rastafarian prisoner's claim that prison requirement that he cut his hair violated his religious rights was not "frivolous" when there was, as of now, no evidence in the record concerning any security concerns which justified the requirement. Cofer v. Schriro, #99-1852, 176 F.3d 1082 (8th Cir. 1999).
EDITOR'S NOTE: See also Williams v. Norris, No. 99-1743, 176 F.3d 1089 (8th Cir. 1999). (Rastafarian prisoner's lawsuit against prison rule prohibiting him from wearing his hair in "dreadlocks" was improperly dismissed because prisoner complied with Prison Litigation Reform Act's "exhaustion of administrative remedies" requirement, since his grievance had been denied by the Warden and the Assistant Director of the state Department of Corrections at the time the court acted).
229:7 Federal trial court rejects N.Y. correctional department's arguments that requiring Rastafarian correctional officers to cut their modified dreadlocks furthered a compelling governmental interest in security, discipline and esprit de corps. Brown v. Keane, 888 F.Supp. 568 (S.D.N.Y. 1995).
237:139 Absolute prohibition on Muslim inmate wearing a beard violated Religious Freedom Restoration Act when inmate sincerely believed his religion required him to do so, even if there was evidence that the Koran did not require this; complete ban on beards was not "least restrictive means" of satisfying security interests, when warden testified that a 1/4" beard would not be a security problem and were already allowed for medical reasons; defendants entitled to qualified immunity from liability, however. Lewis v. Scott, 910 F.Supp. 282 (E.D. Tex. 1995).
224:124 Native American prisoner's religious freedom rights were not violated by requirement that he cut his hair short and keep his medicine pouch and headband stored in his cell. Diaz v. Collins, 872 F.Supp. 353 (E.D. Tex. 1994).
Rules requiring Native American inmate to cut his hair, as well as prohibiting his possession of various religious articles while in administrative segregation, did not violate his rights and were based on legitimate security concerns. Bettis v. Delo, 14 F.3d 22 (8th Cir. 1994).
Federal appeals court upholds award of damages to four black Iowa inmates ordered to cut their "shag" haircuts; prison officials' claim that they were attempting to curtail gang activity is ruled "pretextual." Quinn v. Nix, 983 F.2d 115 (8th Cir. 1993).
Prisoners who claimed a sincere religious belief against cutting hair were entitled to preliminary injunction against application of prison grooming code forbidding hair more than three inches in length. Longstreth v. Maynard, 961 F.2d 895 (10th Cir. 1992).
Prison rule requiring short hair was justified by legitimate security concerns and therefore did not violate religious freedom rights of Rastafarian inmates. Scott v. Mississippi Dept. of Corrections, 961 F.2d 77 (5th Cir. 1992).
Prison prohibition on long hair and beards did not violate prisoners' right to free exercise of religion; grooming regulation was rationally related to legitimate prison security and hygiene concerns. Powell v. Estelle, 959 F.2d 22 (5th Cir. 1992).
Prison rules requiring haircuts and requiring clean shaven appearance for identification photographs did not violate prisoners' religious rights because of a strong interest in preventing escapes. Harris v. Dugger, 757 F.Supp. 1359 (S.D. Fla. 1991); Perry v. Davies, 757 F.Supp. 1223 (D. Kan. 1991).
Rastafarian inmates could not be required to cut their "dreadlocks," but could be prohibited from wearing religious "crowns." Benjamin v. Coughlin, 905 F.2d 571 (2nd Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 111 S.Ct. 372 (1990).
Prison policy prohibiting inmate beards over two inches long did not violate religious freedom rights of Aryan Nation church member. Dunavant v. Moore, 907 F.2d 77 (8th Cir. 1990).
Prison officials failed to justify treating one religious group different from others who were exempted from prison grooming policies against long hair and beards. Swift v. Lewis, 901 F.2d 730 (9th Cir. 1990).
Requiring Rastafarian inmate to get haircut for identification photograph violated religious freedom. Benjamin v. Coughlin, 708 F.Supp. 570 (S.D.N.Y. 1989).
Valid security interests outweighed any right of inmate to grow hair long as required by American Indian religion. Pollock v. Marshall, 845 F.2d 656 (6th Cir. 1988).
Prohibiting "dreadlock" hairstyle of inmates supported by security reasons; guard may be present at inmate religious meetings. Reed v. Faulkner, 653 F. Sup. 965 (N.D. Ind. 1987).
Prison regulation prohibiting beards was valid; no infringement on religion. McFadden v. Lucas, 713 F.2d 143 (5th Cir. 1983).
Sixth circuit orders review of Ohio prison policy requiring inmate to cut his hair; finds that religious rights may have been violated. Weaver v. Jago, 675 F.2d 116 (6th Cir. 1982).
Appeals court rules that suit by inmate which he claimed that hair grooming standards infringed his religious freedom was not frivolous. Dreibelbis v. Marks, 675 F.2d 579 (3rd Cir. 1982).