US

11th Circuit rebuffs Native American inmates seeking to wear long hair in Alabama prisons

The 11th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Native American inmates fighting for the right to wear their hair long in Alabama prisons.

The court on Wednesday upheld an Alabama prison policy which states that male inmates must keep their hair cut short.

Inmates had told the court that long hair has deep religious significance for Native Americans, and they wanted to keep their hair unshorn because of their beliefs.

The Alabama prison system maintains long hair poses security, discipline and hygiene risks.

The appeals court says many well-run prisons see the benefit of allowing inmates to follow the grooming practices of their religion.

However, the judges say the Alabama prison system must make its own assessment on the benefits and risks.