Controversy Over Prison Grooming Policy in Virginia

February 20, 2003

Source: The Associated Press

On February 20, 2003 The Associated Press reported that "a prison grooming policy is being challenged by six inmates — three Rastafarians and three Muslims — who claim the rules violate a federal law that protects religious freedom... Inmate grooming policies have been challenged in courts and found to be constitutional, said Kent Willis, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia... But Wednesday's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges the state Department of Corrections is violating the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act passed by Congress three years ago. The act would apply to the Department of Corrections because it receives federal funds, Willis said."