The religious freedom law allows a Muslim inmate to grow a half-inch beard, according the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling early this week, putting off concerns brought up by Arkansas prison officials in which inmates could hide contraband in beards.
The result showed how the SC, under Chief Justice John Roberts, is becoming deferential to religious pleas being exempted from general laws.
The argument made by prions is difficult to consider since over 40 state and federal prisons allow half-inch beards for religious, medical, and other reasons.
Justice Alito rejected an Arkansas prison’s claim that a beard ban can help identify prisoners, since they can easily change their look by shaving off their facial hair. The court also said that prisons can resolve this issue by taking pictures of inmates in both their bearded and non-bearded appearance.
In a court ruling for Gregory Holt, an inmate, the Supreme Court said that while prison security was potentially interesting, Arkansas failed to show ways in reaching its goals by forcing Holt to shave.