Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Can You Really Hide a Revolver in Your Beard?

By Jesse Wegman, NYT
October 8, 2014 10:23 am

As a general matter, prisoners’ rights have been a cause of the political left, while claims of religious liberty echo from the right.

But the two issues were tangled together at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, in the form of an appeal from Gregory Houston Holt, an Arkansas state prisoner who converted to Islam — his Muslim name is Abdul Maalik Muhammad — and wants to grow out his beard one half-inch in accordance with the dictates of his religion.

In 43 states as well as the federal prison system, that would be no problem. But Arkansas prohibits prisoners from having beards, although it allows a quarter-inch of growth on those who have documented medical reasons, such as a skin condition that makes shaving difficult.

(More here.)

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