Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Georgia's Prisoner Grooming Policy Struck Down

In Smith v. Dozier, (MD GA, Aug. 7, 2019), (on remand from the 11th Circuit) a Georgia federal district court in an 18-page opinion held that the Georgia Department of Corrections grooming policy violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The state's policy allows inmates only to grow a beard up to one-half inch in length. No religious exemption from the requirement is provided.  The court went on to hold that for inmates who qualify for a religious exemption, the state must allow beards up to three inches in length. In its opinion, the court examined and rejected several justifications offered by the state for its challenged policy. reports on the decision.