US high court vacates ruling on long hair in Alabama prisons

AP News
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Posted: Jan 26, 2015 4:29 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Native American inmates in Alabama prisons have won a round in their legal battle to wear long hair.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated an 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that had upheld the Alabama prison system's policy against long hair. The Supreme Court told the 11th Circuit court to reconsider the case in light of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling last week that said a Muslim prison inmate in Arkansas can grow a short beard for religious reasons.

Native American inmates say long hair is part of their religious practices. The Alabama Department of Corrections argues that long hair poses security, discipline and hygiene risks and makes it easier for an inmate to change his appearance after an escape.