Court rejects Jewish inmate’s claim on beard

(JTA) — A prison can require an Orthodox Jewish prison inmate to keep his beard short, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Court Judge Steven McAuliffe in Concord, N.H., ruled Aug. 27 that prison inmates do not have a First Amendment right to grow a beard, rejecting Orthodox Jewish inmate Albert Kuperman’s claim.

In his ruling the judge said that the maximum length of one-quarter inch allowed by prison officials in Concord to easily identify prisoners and that allowing a longer length would require more intimate searches.

Kuperman, 25, is serving a seven-year sentence for child molesting and is eligible for parole in January, the Associated Press reported. He challenged the prison in court last year after he was removed from a kosher diet after being caught eating non-kosher food.
 

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