California Prisons Will Permit Beards For Religious Reasons

The ACLU of Southern California announced earlier this week that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has agreed to amend its grooming policies so that inmates will be allowed to wear beards in accordance with their religious faiths. The policy change comes in a settlement of a lawsuit filed earlier this year. In Basra v. Cate, (CD CA, filed 2/25/2011) (full text of complaint), the ACLU sued under RLUIPA on behalf of a Sikh prisoner who faced sanctions and exclusion from prison programs because he refused to shave his beard or cut his hair for religious reasons. The U.S. Department of Justice had also filed a parallel lawsuit. (See prior posting.)

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