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Prisoner Hair Policy

Prisoner's Hair Policy Unjust, Court Rules

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Prison's hair policy unjust, court rules

July 30, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO - A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled that the California prison system's ban on long hair for male prisoners violated a former inmate's religious freedom.

The panel overturned a lower court decision that denied Billy Soza Warsoldier a preliminary injunction against prison rules that ban hair longer than 3 inches on male inmates. The appeals court said the policy forced Warsoldier, an American Indian, "to choose between following his religious beliefs and suffering continual punishment."

Prison officials said the limits on hair length were needed for security and health reasons. But the appeals court said California prisons don't limit the length of hair of female inmates and that the federal prison system and prisons in some other states don't have restrictions on hair length.

Associated Press

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