Staying true to our nation’s ideals of religious freedom, the United States Supreme Court, the nation’s highest legal authority unanimously held that a Muslim prisoner in Arkansas, Gregory Holt, is entitled to grow a beard for religious reasons.
Holt brought his claim under a federal law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which seeks to protect prisoners’ religious rights. The Supreme Court held the Arkansas prison policy, which prohibits prisoners from keeping beards to be a violation of religious rights and rejected the state’s reasoning that the policy was needed for security reasons in order to prevent prisoners from concealing contraband.
Justice Alito noted that the state already searches clothing and hair and failed to provide a valid reason for why it could not search beards as well. In their arguments Holt’s lawyers had noted that more than 40 states and the federal government allow prison inmates to keep similar beards. If your fundamental or civil rights are being violated please contact Bashian & Papantoniou to schedule your free consultation.