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Should prisoners be allowed to have beards based on religious grounds?

March 12, 2014

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

In a handwritten petition, a prisoner in the Arkansas prison system asked the Supreme Court to decide a hairy issue, whether prisoners should be able to wear beards in accordance with their religious beliefs. The court agreed to hear the case, Holt v. Hobbs, in the fall.

The petitioner, Gregory Holt, who goes by Abdul Maalik Muhammad, converted to Islam and wished to grow a beard in accordance with his religious belief that “Muslim males are not to shave their beards.” Holt is serving a life sentence for domestic violence in the Arkansas state prison system, which does not allow beards, not even one that is a half-inch long, which Holt is seeking.

The Arkansas prison system does not allow beards for many reasons. Long beards can be used to hide contraband when prisoners visit their families and lawyers. And if an inmate who has a beard escapes, a quick shave would allow him to drastically change his appearance, giving him more time to evade the authorities.

Prison officials told the justices that everything from cellphone SIM cards to darts could be hidden in a half-inch beard. Officials also said they should not be responsible for monitoring the lengths of prisoners’ beards.

Holt didn’t agree with the policy, so he filled out by hand a writ certiorari in forma pauperis, which allowed him to petition the court without paying the fees since he could not afford them.

Decades ago, another handwritten petition changed the legal system. Clarence Gideon’s handwritten letter made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) that the Sixth Amendment guarantee of counsel was essential to a fair trial and applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause.

Holt’s handwritten petition makes several arguments. First, it says that the Arkansas Department of Corrections’ no-beard rule violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a 1993 law that forbids prisons from imposing burdens that keep inmates from practicing their religion unless there is a compelling reason. Holt argues that a half-inch beard would not drastically change a person’s appearance and that it would not be a security issue.

Additionally, Holt says that the no-beard rule violates his First Amendment right to practice religion freely. Holt also contends that lower courts have given conflicting rulings on state grooming laws based on religion and that the Supreme Court must decide the issue.

What do you think?

How should the Supreme Court rule in Holt v. Hobbs? Does the no-beard policy violate a prisoner’s First Amendment right to practice his religion freely? Do beards pose a security and hygiene risk? How should the government weigh the need for security with the need to protect the constitutional rights of the prisoners? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Comments
12/15/2014
murrieta ca
elizabeth padilla
mr. jabro/ creeksidse high
personally, im understanding when it comes to religous ways, people get so dedicted to their religion that they want to go by it as much as possible. I believe that it should be okay that if the prisioners want to grow a beard they should be able to.

11/14/2014
Belleville/ New York
Erika
Cobly/ Belleville Henderson
The Supreme Court should rule in favor of Hobbs. When you are incarcerated, you lose some of your basic rights as an individual. Having a beard can cause many problems. Moving inmates with beards from place to place can lead to some dangerous situations for correctional officers and other staff as well. They could have contraband or weapons hidden in their facial hair and act out towards staff. Since prisoners have limited time for hygiene care, having a beard will complicate this. There are other ways Holt can practice his religion safely. This factor can also put other inmates at risk of death. Holt having a beard puts a burden on officers to take extra precaution on an individual. Therefore, Holt committed a crime, so he should not be able to grow a beard.

11/14/2014
Stroudsburg,PA
Zach
Mr.hanna/SJHS
I think the Supreme Court should not let Holt have his beard because he doesn't deserve to have it. He went to prison for a reason so his freedoms should be taken away. Also, I don't think it violates the First Ammendment because if he were not going to prison for his domestic violence then I could understand why he doesnt like the rule. But, he is in prison and could do bad things with his beard like hide small weapons and SIM cards like the passage stated. Now, I don't think that beards create a hygine problem, it's just hair. But, they can be a security risk by once again, hiding things. Finally, I think it is more important to protect the security because the police are very important people to our society. Not saying that prisoners aren't important people, but police are a need to us.

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg Pa
emma
Mr. Hanna / stroudsburg jhs
Yes I do believe that prisoners should be able to keep a beard based on religious beliefs. It's a religion. An having a beard does not effect anyone. I thunk that maybe they should have a limit for how long it is. Or check their beard for weapons or anything they would have to hide.

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Khaled
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think that prisons should allow people who have religious beliefs to grow their beards epically if they’re Muslim, because in Islam people who choose to grow their beard they can’t shave it for multiple of reasons. Also, about the people hiding things in their beard when they’re visiting their families, somebody of the people in charge of the prison or whoever works in the prison could just put their hands inside of their beard and if they think it’s disgusting they could wear gloves. Also, if they want to make sure they are actually doing this because their religion they could bring someone who understands this religion to ask them multiple of questions about specific things.

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg/PA
Mickenna
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
All jails/prisons should allow people to have beards even though they can probably have something small hidden in their beards. If the prisoners have beards they could have mandatory physicals just for their beards. When people have beards for a religion such as Muslim it's wrong taking that away from them, it makes them feel like they lost their religion. Imagine being Christian without a Bible, you lose the will to learn how to be Christian, I think that's how the Muslims felt. Alright so maybe you don't have a religion to keep a beard but you like it anyway, they still shouldn't take it away. Imagine how many years it took to grow that fuzzy hairball on their chin, would you like it if five years of hairy perfection got shaved of because you have to go to jail? I know I wouldn't, well if I was a boy, but hey there's even some women out there that grow beards and those people want to show off how perfect there beard is after years and years of grooming, and growing, heck they even get food stuck in there for crying out loud! So I say allow them to keep their beloved beards!

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Max serrano
Mr.hana
I don't think that people should be able to have beards based on relogion. They went to jail for something they did wrong and if they want to have a beard they shouldn't have committed a crime. Is this honestly a real question, like really.

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg,PA
Hannah
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe that prisoners should be allowed to have beards because of there religious beliefs. I don't think there is any harm in it at all, and if people are worried that they'll hide objects in their beard then they can have security search them before they can see anyone. If the prisoners were to escape and they have the belief that "Muslim males are not to shave their beards" then I don't think it's very likely they would shave.

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg/Pennsylvania
Victoria
Mr.Hanna/ Stroudsburg Junior high School
In my opinion is that you should allow beards in jail. Because you should just make sure that there is nothing that in the prisoner's cell that can be used as a weapon. And if you keep the peace in the jail there will be no problems within the jail. And the religion of the prisoners are their religion and you can't change it.

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Jill
Mr. Hana sjhs
I believe that people should be allowed to have beards based on their religious ground because beards arnt a danger and if it's for their religious belief they should be allowed.

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg/ P.A
Masi
Hanna/ Jr High
I think you should be able to have a beard in jail. I don't see the danger at all in having facial hair. Especially if it's in your religion. I understand a crime got you into jail but once your in there they shouldn't be able to tell you you have to shave your face if it's your religion. It's not up to them. Government should not have to worry about it at all because it's not up to them to decide if they can or can't have facial hair.

11/13/2014
stroudsburg Pennsylvania
Nick
Mr.Hanna/stroudsburg JHS
I think they should. Like what the heck? You guys are really thinking that some facial hair can be a danger?! My gosh. And its there religion, what ever happened to being able to be in any religious party freely?

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Khaled
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think that prisons should allow people who have religious beliefs to grow their beards epically if they’re Muslim, because in Islam people who choose to grow their beard they can’t shave it for multiple of reasons. Also, about the people hiding things in their beard when they’re visiting their families, somebody of the people in charge of the prison or whoever works in the prison could just put their hands inside of their beard and if they think it’s disgusting they could wear gloves. Also, if they want to make sure they are actually doing this because their religion they could bring someone who understands this religion to ask them multiple of questions about specific things

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Amyah
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe prisoners should be able to have beards because of their religion. They should be able to have beards for their religion because it's there culture and it's what they believe in. Why should they have to it's a beard. They really can't hide something in a beard and if they do I believe it should be searched.

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Daniel
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
Yes, I think prisoners should be able to have beards for a religious reason. If they just want a beard to have one I don't think that should be aloud. I think the goverment should let them have a beard if it's religious becase if not then the goverment is voilating his first amendment by not letting him have his beard.

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Benny
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg jhs
I don't think prisoners should be aloud to have bears becausea quick shave could completely change their appearance and if you a prisoner a razor he could easily cut someone or even kill them. Prisoners could escape and then shave their beard and even cut their hair and look completely different. If a razor was in the hands of a prisoner their is a great possibility they will try to hurt you. I honestly don't think we should go threw all this trouble just to shave your beard.

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Gabrielle
Mr.Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I think that prisoners should be able to have beards in jail. Even though they are in jail it is still their body. They have the right to grow a beard because it doesn't harm anyone.

11/12/2014
Stoudsburg/Pa
Alefiyah
Mr.Hanna/Stoudsburg JHS
I believe that muslims have every right to not shave their beards, especially when it comes to religious beliefs. The Supreme Court should rule in Holt, no doubt about it. There are reasons on why. First of all, the rule violates a First Amendment right to practice religious freedom. Also, continuously growing long beards does not cause any hygiene problems. My father, who is also muslim, does not cut his beard, and keeps it long. He is also conscious of being very clean and does not have hygiene problems. Do girls with very long hair have hygiene problems? I don't think so. I do agree however that long beards may cause security problems. There are ways to fix that though. The Arkansas prison system doesn't allow beards for many reasons, one reason being that prisoners may hide contraband when visiting family and lawyers. Before bearded prisoners visit their families, why can't the prison have a beard check on all the men? Like a luggage check before getting on a plane. The prison is also afraid that if a prisoner with a long beard escapes with a shave, his appearance may change, giving him more time to avoid authorities. The prison can just give razors to men who can shave, and not give razors to men who can't. Prison officials could also have a daily beard check for men to check for items they are not suppose to have. That is one way the government can make sure that the prison has good security, while protecting the constitutional rights of the prisoners.

11/12/2014
Murrieta ca
Corrine
Mr jabro/CReekside
Yes, i believe prisoners have the right to keep their beard, not for only religious purposes, but in general, let the prisoners have at least a beard, their already locked up. They did commit a crime, but you cant strip them of everything.

10/9/2014
murrieta CA
bianca
mr. jabro/creekside
Prisoners should have the right to keep their beard if it is a religious belief. You can't just take something away from somebody that helps them feel closer to to their religion. We have "freedom of religion" for a reason and it is not right for somebody to take that away from somebody just because they're in a prison. Although they are prisoners, they are also people and can change. anybody shoukd be able to keep their beards if that makes them who happy with themselves.

9/30/2014
Murrieta,Ca
Elena
Mr.Jabro/Creekside Highschool
I think that prisoners should be able to keep a beard, if its in accordance with his religious belief. The government shouldn't be able to take away someones rights to having their beard. I think only men that have to have beards soley because of their religion, then they should be able to keep their beards, but the ones that don't have it for the reason shouldn't need their beards in prison

9/12/2014
Lancaster PA
Kalista Chapman
Ms.Grothey ER Elementary School
Mr.Holt should be able to grow his beard.Why? Well if it is part of this persons religion and he sins against his god for it he will forever be destroyed. Yes he has lost all his rights and yes it is against the First Amendment, however keeping a close eye shouldn't be consolidated. Anyways it does take a insufficient bit of work but people with a great religion should be able to practice their religion even in prison. The government shouldn't not let anyone not practice their religion.

8/22/2014
Murrieta CA
Lily
Mr.Jabro Creekside Highschool
The supreme court should rule that no beards are allowed. No,it does not violate the right of the First Amendment because if you are in prison you are controlled and have lost your rights for the time being. Beards do pose a security risk because they can hide things in them and not all guards will take the extra time to check. It also effects hygiene because then you have to give them the tools to maintain it and they could easily turn those into a weapon. They should weigh it as all possibilities are possible. They should not be allowed to have a beard due to all the different threats it could pose.

8/21/2014
Murrieta CA
Ashley
Mr.Jabro Creekside Highschool
Mr. Holt should be able to grow his beard. He has the right to practice that part of his religion. A beard can hide contraban, yes, however, keeping an eye on prisoners who have beards should not be difficult. All wardens and officers would have to do, is add a rutine search of the men with beards. So what if it is extra work, they can not take away the right to practice a religion.

6/15/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Grace
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg Junior high school
The supreme court should rule in favor of Hobbs. Yes, it does violate his 1st Amendment rights, and I dont think that beards pose much of a security risk but because he was tried and found guilty, the security aspect trumps the constitution's rights in this case.

6/13/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Jacob S
Mr. Hanna / Stroudsburg JHS
This seems like another situation where the inmates havering shave just because the person in charge can make them. Beards are not impossible to search and should be searched as often as the rest of the inmates are. Shaving your beard is not the same as plastic surgery and there are computer programs that can take a picture with the beard and remove it. Therefore I do not see the problwith inmates having beards

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg/pa
Sarah I
Hanna/stroudsburgjhs
I don't think so because a lot of people that beards and religion seriously. And people might feel they have something to do terrorist and might fear them and be scared or them. Might be confused by them thinking they're a priest and might let them out too early

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg PA.
Kyeer
Mr.Hanna/Stoudsburg JHS
No prisoners should not be able to wear beards because of different reasons. They could easily hide drugs or weapons in long beards. Also if they end up escaping jail somehow they could just get a quick shave and look pretty different.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Christian G
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
The Supreme Court should rule it by saying no because prisoners can hide blades and other types of weapons in it depending on its length and how sneaky they are. No it does not violate the first amendment because they had a chance to be free and not be in jail but they went to jail so to me they don't have any freedom. Yes beards pose a security and hygiene risk because thy might not keep it clean and spread some sort of disease. They should weigh it by not letting the prisoners have beards so there won't be a possible threat to hide weapons in it

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Sierra T.
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I do believe that this violates the prisoners first amendment. But also the beard poses many risks in hygein and safety. But if a pisoner wants to grow a beard he should stay out of prison. I have mixed feelings about this issue but I'm mostly leaning towards letting prisoners have beards for there religion. But the also could have contraband in their beards so I think there's a lot of pros and con's about this subject.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Michael C.
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I feel that prisoners should be allowed to grow beards based on their religion. I think that their beards cannot be very long but if all their religion calls for is a half inch beard, they should be allowed to have it. Also, if security were an issue, the guards could just search their beards after every visitor the prisoner has. Also,a half inch beard would hardly alter the appearance of anyone. My last argument is that the prisoners cannot choose the jail they go to. If they cannot choose the jail they attend they cannot choose weather that allows beards or not. Not being allowed to have a beard for religious reasons violates the prisoners first amendment.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Colin Brady
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I have mixed feelings with this because it does violate the first admentment. But it also does cause a safety issue. You can hide stuff in a half inch of beard and if you do escape and give your beard a little touch to it, you can look pretty deferent

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Jason G
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
In my opinion They can't be trusted but a little bit of space should be provided. They have a right to freedom of religion no matter how bad they have been in the past prisoners should be allowed but, they should be at least 4 inches or lower. Also I think they should be regularly checked just in case if they hide anything in their beards but just to ensure this I'd go with 4 inches or lower because it is very hard to hide something in a four inch beard. This is my opinion on prisoners having beards for religious purposes.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg /pa
Jeremiah G
Mr.Hanna /stroudsburg
I think prisoners should not have beards because they can use there beards to hide stuff such as drugs, weapons and etc. it's dangerous because if the prisoner hide a weapon in his beard he can use that weapon to kill someone or the guards that's there.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Amanda A.
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I believe that prisoners should be allowed to have beards based on religious grounds. I think that the no-beard policy does violate a prisoner's First Amendment right to practice of his religion freely, making what the Arkansas prison is doing unconstitutional. Although, beards can pose a hygienic and security risk, they should be checked every day, by the hour or two hours, or however the prison may choose to check it, but they must by checked for any kind of weapon or item that can be used to harm others. They shall also be thoroughly cared for because it can pose a hygienic threat.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg ,PA
JabareeM
Mr.Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I think they should because it does go against the 1st amendment. Not really because they cant hide any thing big in them. They make rule for people with beards in jail.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Kayliegh
Mr. Hanna/ stroudsburg JHS
I believe that they should be able to have beards. I think this because in the constitution we have freedom of religion. I also think they should be regularly checked in case they try to hide something.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Isaac
Mr. Hanna/stroudsburg
I think it's bad for people to have beards In jail because they might hide wepons and drugs in their beards they use them on cops or other prisoners ??????

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Edwin
Me. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
No, I think prisoners shouldn't have beards. To risky they might hide stuff in their beards. If they escape hopefully not, but then they will look so different. So I say a BIG No No

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Taher
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
The Supreme Court should allow beards to be grown in prison based on religious grounds, because if they could not, that is a violation of your freedom of religion and your other rights. Yes I believe it breaks the First Amendment of the right to practice your religion freely, If it is in their religion then they should be able to grow their beards. I believe that beards would have no hygiene problems and no security risk if the length is kept to a minimum size. I believe that the government should put the constitutional rights above security because if they show the prisoners their rights they would not feel the need to escape because of them being treated fairly.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Gabriella S.
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I do believe that prisoners should be allowed to have beards. If the people are scared of them escaping and being able to shave off the beard and look different, then when they are first in jail, they could shave the beard off and take a picture of how they look. This way they have a picture of how they look without a beard. Religion is a very serious matter, and people have their rights. No one should be taken away from their religion.

6/11/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Kyle Frack
Mr Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
This is a no brainer prisoners should be able to have facial hair even in prison. If they prisoner can not have facial hair when its their religion I believe that it is breaking part of the first amendment 'The freedom of religion". If the prisoner can not have something for their religion its unconstitutional.

6/11/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Taylor M
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think that the prisoners should have to shave their beard. Yes, it does go against the first amendment, but I'm sure whatever crime they committed goes against the first amendment too. If their concerned about shaving their beard because it goes against their religion, then they shouldn't have committed the crime. Not shaving their beard could be a safety issue, so I think they should have to shave it.

6/11/2014
Str
Luke D.
Mr. Hanna/ SJHS
This is a difficult subject. If the prisoners are allowed to keep their beards, there could be a safety issue. If prisoners aren't allowed keep their facial hair it could go against the first amendment though. Personally, I believe prisoners must shave their beard.

5/30/2014
Wisconsin
Mo
Crail/Northwestern High School
I feel that even if it can be considered a problem in prison people should be allowed to grow a beard especially if its for religion. The first amendment states that we have a freedom to whatever religion we want. Telling a prisoner that shaving a beard (that is for religious purposes) is denying the right to religion. People in prison are checked so often and almost constantly watched I feel it would be very hard to hide contraband, I know people do it but I don't think it'd be easy to hide things in a beard.

5/30/2014
Wisconsin
Mo
Crail/Northwestern High School
I feel that even if it can be considered a problem in prison people should be allowed to grow a beard especially if its for religion. The first amendment states that we have a freedom to whatever religion we want. Telling a prisoner that shaving a beard (that is for religious purposes) is denying the right to religion. People in prison are checked so often and almost constantly watched I feel it would be very hard to hide contraband, I know people do it but I don't think it'd be easy to hide things in a beard.

5/30/2014
Wisconsin
Mo
Crail/Northwestern High School
I feel that even if it can be considered a problem in prison people should be allowed to grow a beard especially if its for religion. The first amendment states that we have a freedom to whatever religion we want. Telling a prisoner that shaving a beard (that is for religious purposes) is denying the right to religion. People in prison are checked so often and almost constantly watched I feel it would be very hard to hide contraband, I know people do it but I don't think it'd be easy to hide things in a beard.

5/22/2014
Montgomery/Texas
Brittany
Metzger/Montgomery High School
I believe the 1st amendment comes first for a reason. It states that we as people have the right to exercise freedom of religion. It doesn't matter if your being punished or rewarded. Religious reason are special to a person, and without them it's like they have lost their identity. I am against this issue, let people wear their beards it's not distracting anyone especially in jail? They are being watched 24 hours a day 7 days a week, how are they even suppose to get the chance to hide objects in their beards?

5/22/2014
Washington
Aldo A
Rokosny/Warren Hills High School
I believe that there shouldn't be any rules or restrictions affect the ways and manners that it is carried out. For some people religion is a vast part of his/her life. Its part of the 1st amendment that people have the right to exercise freedom of religion. Any laws that impose this freedom should be read over and edited so that they don't impede on their freedoms. As for the facial hair situation in prison, prisoners, including Holt, should be allowed to grow their beards especially if their religion calls for it. The introduction of beards would obviously bring out more security measures such as searching through the thicket of the beards. I can't see this being a big issue while keeping in mind the security that is already established.

5/22/2014
Washington
Aldo A
Rokosny/Warren Hills High School
I believe that there shouldn't be any rules or restrictions affect the ways and manners that it is carried out. For some people religion is a vast part of his/her life. Its part of the 1st amendment that people have the right to exercise freedom of religion. Any laws that impose this freedom should be read over and edited so that they don't impede on their freedoms. As for the facial hair situation in prison, prisoners, including Holt, should be allowed to grow their beards especially if their religion calls for it. The introduction of beards would obviously bring out more security measures such as searching through the thicket of the beards. I can't see this being a big issue while keeping in mind the security that is already established.

5/7/2014
North Star High School
Quinn S
Mrs. Campbell
The prisoner should be able to grow a beard, but with much caution. If he wants to grow his beard, he must have to give up some of his privacy rights by having it searched and making sure it is washed every day. This will be an inconvenience for not only him, but also the prison. I believe that because of his first amendment rights, the inconvenience is necessary.

4/28/2014
Murrieta Ca
Danielle K
Mr.Jabro/Creekside High School
I believe the prisoners should be aloud to have bears based on religious beliefs. If the Government is hold back religion from them well then that can be a fine in its self. The only issue is, is that the legal system is right! People are able to hide things in beards... BUT if they are able to check inside someones body for things they are hiding then they should be able to comb out a beard if they need to be checked.. I don't think beards will be a problem.. I just think that our "legal system" doesn't want to work with having to "comb" out someone beard when they are returning from their lawyer or family members.. It inst that hard.. Plus you can take pictures of the prisoners wit and without a beard.. So its simple.. Comb them out and take a few extra pictures. Lt the, have their religious beliefs in tact. Hygiene risks can be handled if everyone else is taking care of them self's.. Men are proud of their facial hair and will groom them self's when needed. Holt should be able to have it just like any other man should be able to.. I believe having body hair or no body hair (since it is natural) shouldn't be based upon what the government wants.. So i am in favor of Holt's request. (Okay Mr.Jabro, will this make class easier to grade? )

4/21/2014
Rudyard/MT
Sarah
Mrs.Campbell/North Star
The Supreme Court should hear this case so then there can be no more confusion in the lower courts pertaining to this matter. I believe that the court should rule against Holt's petition. I do believe that prisoners have constitutional rights. However, when they commit a crime they voluntarily give up most of these rights. One of them should be how they are allowed to dress. The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act says that a prisoner can practice their religion unless there is a compelling reason for them to not. The reasons against having a beard are very compelling. Illegal items can be hidden in a beard, and it has happened before. That is why they are already banned in the Arkansas State prison. Even though shaving off a half-inch beard wouldn't change a person appearance drastically, it could still change it enough to make someone unrecognizable for an instant. That is enough time for the convict to get away. Security is paramount to keeping this country safe. Criminals need to see that the consequences for committing a crime far outweigh whatever they thought they would gain by committing the act.

4/20/2014
Irving/ Texas
Indya
Bradley/Nimitz
When you are put into prison you give up all rights. Inmates safety is at risk when you give them the opportunities to change the system or make decisions for themselves. If you let one inmate grow a beard, all inmates will be allowed to grow beards whether for religious reasons or not. I do not believe inmates should be alowed to grow beards in prison.

4/20/2014
Irving/Texas
Rajith I.
Bradley/Nimitz
Mr. Holt has the right to religious freedom. If he was in the outside world Mr. Holt would have every right to stand up for his beliefs. However, due to his conviction certain rights have to be curtailed for the safety of the general population in the prison and those working in it. A half-inch beard, while not a problem in the outside world, could hold contraband like pills, razor blades, and SIM cards. Mr. Holt has the right to reasonably practice his religion in prison but not at the expense of safety.

4/19/2014
Irving, Texas
Felipe
Bradley/Nimitz
The issue at hand is whether an inmate's First amendment right is violated because one is not able to grow a beard. If we allow them to grow beards this could cause many problems in the prison. They disobeyed the law and therefore should take in their consequences. Just like every other prisoner their rights are vanished and should pay for what they did. If they wanted to stay with their beard then they shouldn't been out there breaking laws. So I believe they should get rid of it for the safety of everyone and the people in the jail.These laws are needed to keep safety and order in the prisons. If we allow prisoners to grow beards on the basis of religion what is going to stop others from saying that they have also converted to Islam just to use the beard to hide weapons

4/18/2014
Irving/Texas
Pam
Bradley/Nimitz
The Supreme court should rule against Holt. While this man has the freedom of religion through the First Amendment, he is also a prisoner, meaning his rights are already limited in some ways. His petition to be allowed to have a beard shouldn’t be permitted because it is a security and hygiene risk because small weapons can be hidden in beards and the grooming of the beards must be heavily controlled. The government must first think of the overall need for security over this man’s need for a beard as the security is much more important.

4/17/2014
Irving, TX
Josh A
Bradley/ Nimitz
With all due respect, I would suggest that the Supreme Court rule the case against him and not let him grow his beard. First off, safety is first. There are so many things already against him when he grows his bread: not only is a matter of security in jail, but its very hard for security guards to keep checking that his beard is clean of any contraband. Second of all, imagine if all the jail mates followed what Hobbs was doing and decided to "suddenly" become Muslims as well and wanted to grow a beard as well. There would be no way to track who really had good or bad intentions. In accordance with the first amendment, he is given the right to practice his religion. What is a shaved beard to impede him from worshiping Allah? Once again, safety is first. The government should think first for the well being of its prisoners, then for commodities.

4/17/2014
Irving/Texas
Pablo M
Bradley/Nimitz
Prisoners should not be allowed to have beards based on religion. They are prisoners for a reason. One simply can not trust a threat to society. Yes the first amendment gives the right to practice religion freely, but prison is a punishment. Giving prisoners the right to grow beards would only make the punishment less severe. Making prison a wonderful religious experience. Prison is not a church.. The safety of others must not be compromised because of what the prisoners want.

4/14/2014
Irving/Texas
Jessi
Bradley/Nimitz
The Supreme Court will have a close decision on this particular because of the special circumstance. But, in the end, the no-beard policy does not violate First Amendment rights. If said criminal is truly dedicated to his faith, there can be compromise. It’ll grow back, and, for the sake of his eternal soul to be at peace, he can know that he’ll probably fall into a special category of heaven-bound souls with genetically hairless men and chemo patients. Beards pose a safety problem, especially if records show that with less than an inch, razors can be smuggled in. Prison is prison. Like, dude, if you committed a crime so heinous that you were sentenced to life, the beard is just a personal ploy. This is a world of compromise, so let’s do this: good behavior leads to a longer beard, and bad behavior leads to the barber. There is no need for anyone to throw a fit about this. Safety of the population, in this case, trumps the personal disposition to keep a little bit of facial hair.

4/11/2014
Mckinney/ Tx
Jeremy
Adams/ CTE
The Prison and the state of Arkansas has the right and authority to cut the inmates beard. The beard poses as a security risk to the guards, himself, other inmates, citizens in the event of an escape, and to the entirety of the prison system. The right of the inmate to practice is religion under the free exercise clause of the 1st amendment does not outweigh the security risk that such a practice poses. Also when you are convicted and found guilty through the criminal process you lose certain rights. For example you lose your second, fourth,and eight amendments.

4/11/2014
Frisco,Texas
Andrew
Adams/CTE Center
I believe that when you are put into prison, that you give up your rights. Many inmates safety could be at risk if you allow other inmates to have beards. They could hide weapons or other things that they are not supposed to have in their beards. If you let one inmate grow a beard then you will have to allow everyone to grow one on the grounds of "religious reasons". When you are incarcerated, you wave your rights. That includes growing a beard.

4/11/2014
Frisco, TX
Marlen
Adams/CTE Center
I believe that while a person is incarcerated, that they have given up their rights to the authorities inside of the prison. As a safety precaution, prisoners should not be allow to grow beards for they might hide harmful drugs. On the other hand, prisoners should be allowed to practice freedom of religion in prison for sanity and moral purposes, but they should not be allowed to put others and themselves in harms way by doing so.

4/11/2014
Frisco, TX
Alberto
AdamcCTECenter
Prisoners should not be allowed to grow beards, as noted before, the oddest objects or weapons can be hidden in a beard we shouldn't risk to give them that opportunity. If they allow one prisoner to do it then they have to give the same right to everyone else. Though some might have good intentions, many others may not, which is why we shouldn't give the right out. When commiting a crime they know they lose certain rights, such as this man serving life in prison. The Supreme Court should rule against this man and keep the rules the way they are.

4/9/2014
Frisco/ Texas
Sydney
Adams/ CTE Center
I can understand Holt's frustration and his points. When i first read this question, I thought why shouldn't an inmate be allowed to have a beard? After reading the article, I have to agree with the Prison officials on this. In prison you don't have many rights so he probably won't be granted the approval of a beard. Holt's actions got him sent to prison so he has to deal with the consequences. I also agree that it is a neusance for the officials to be monitoring a beard. Prison officials have many other things to be doing besides monitoring that. I can also understand that beards can be a hiding spot for contraband which puts inmates and officials at jeopardy.

4/9/2014
frisco TX
preston
adams
As the first amendments does include rights, I believe prison should be able to restrict these rights as part of prison policy and repercussions. A beard cannot have a substantial matter in the exercise of religion as it is a secular issue.

4/9/2014
Frisco TX
Steven
Adams/CTEC
I think no because if they do. They should have the choice to Because its there right even though ITs there religion. like if i was musim i grow a beard i have to shave it because if I'm in jail. i basically have to shave it.

4/9/2014
Frisco,TX
Fabiha
Adams/CTECenter
I believe that prisoners should not be allowed to grow beards. Because it would pose as a threat to surrounding prisoners. Many small things can be hidden in beards as Prison officials told the justices. Also a beard can change a persons whole appearance making it much easier to escape and stay hidden longer.Therefore it doesn't just come back to Mr.Holt wanting to express his religion, it comes down to the fact that if this is passed other inmates with clouded intentions would convert to just have the right to have a beard to use to their own advantage rather then for religious purposes.

4/9/2014
Frisco/TX
Claire
Adams/CTE Center
Prisoners should not be allowed to grow beards, and enforcement of this statute is not a violation of their Constitutional right to Free Exercise. They are prisoners for a reason. Holt has violated the rights of another, resulting in his life imprisonment, in which he is not entitled to his rights any longer. His possession of a beard could pose as a serious threat to other prisoners and prison officials because he could hide several harmful substances or objects on his person. There is no way to tell the legitimacy of his intentions so the best way to ensure the safety of others is to prohibit him from growing a beard in prison.

4/9/2014
Frisco/Texas
Ryan
Adams/CTECenter
I believe that the prisoners should be allowed to grow beards. Yes you committed a crime and in the case of Holt v. Hobbs, its a life sentence in which Gregory Holt is serving. Now with beard length that is questionable, however, in Holts case, if it's a beard at a length of half-inch, that should be acceptable in the prison. Yes beards can be used to hide contraband, however, if the prisoner decides to grow his beard over the length of half-inch they should be checked for contraband. Concerning the issue with escaping and shaving off the beard, that does play a big part in the issue allowing the inmate to escape easier. However, if the prisoner decides to grow out a beard they should have their picture taken without a beard and be allowed to grow it out, that way if they do escape they will have record of the original face before the beard has been grown. Also noted, if the beard is part of Holts religion, he should be allowed to grow/ and or keep it.

4/9/2014
Frisco/Texas
Taylor
Adams/CTECenter
Inmates in prison should not be allowed to have beards, because there are too many valid risks that the guards are aware of. Another reason is that when you are in prison you are being punished in a confined cell, and their rights should not be in affect while in custody.

4/9/2014
Frisco/Texas
Jacob
Adams/CTE Center
I believe they should be allowed to grow beards. If a person wants change from Muslim to Islam and wishes to grow a beard, then I think that person should do it. Even though there are consequences of committing a crime, a person whether Islamic or any religions should wear beards that are half-inch beard or longer.

4/9/2014
Frisco, Tx
Brooke
Adams/CTE Center
Prisoners shouldn't be allowed to have beards based on their religious backgrounds. They shouldn't be allowed because they broke the law which infringes on their rights. If they hadn't broken the law, they could be free to look however they want but since they chose to go against what is expected then they shouldn't have the right to grow beards for particular reasons when they are in prison.

4/9/2014
Frisco, Tx
Brooke
Adams/CTE Center
Prisoners shouldn't be allowed to have beards based on their religious backgrounds. They shouldn't be allowed because they broke the law which infringes on their rights. If they hadn't broken the law, they could be free to look however they want but since they chose to go against what is expected then they shouldn't have the right to grow beards for particular reasons when they are in prison.

4/9/2014
Harrison,MI
Blayne
Mr.Smith
I also believe that they shouldnt be allowed to grow them. Obviously they dont care about your rights and amendments to much if you committed a crime in the first place. Did his religon also tell him to commit a crime also?

4/4/2014
Irving/Texas
Shiva
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe they should not be allowed to grow beards. You committed a crime and there are consequences for committing that crime. Not only that but as they state, many things can be hidden even in a small beard. They are criminals and the safety of others must not be compromised because of their wants, which is what got them in prison in the first place.

3/31/2014
Irving/Texas
Michael Egeonu
Bradley/Nimitz
The supreme court should definitely rule Hobbs the winner of this case, because if a person is in jail, he or she have a certain limitation to their rights such as growing a beard! Like the article said, beards can be used to hide wepons and dramatically change their appearance if they escape when they shave it off. When it comes to the safety of billions of Americans, constitutional rights for prisoners are substantially diminished!

3/29/2014
Irving/Texas
Milton
Bradley/Nimitz
Well the Supreme Court should rule against Holt. In a prison the prison makes the rules and if he wanted to practice his religion so bad then maybe he shouldn't of committed domestic abuse and gone to prison in the first place. And I agree with the prison, beards pose security and hygiene risk. Furthermore if your are in prison is because you have done something bad and security should be more important than constitutional rights of the prisoners because they're in prison. But practice of religion should be allow to some extent. A solution could be that the inmate could be put in solitary confinement and be free to express his religion however that inmate desires. If the prisoner doesn't like it well to bad, should of thought first about drastically breaking the law.

3/28/2014
Sidney/MT
Taylor
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
The issue of this case is whether a convicted felon can grow a beard based on his religion via the First Amendment right to practice religion freely. Another part of that is whether or not there is a compelling reason as stated in the article. The state has a very compelling interest in this matter. As Michael has previously stated these beards could be used to harm the safety and the order within the prison. Another issue with the beards is that other convicted felons might claim to have converted to Islam just to use it to hide weapons to harm the guards or other inmates. How are we to judge who is religious and who is not? As a prisoner, your rights are limited and therefore not absolute. In this case I believe that Hobbs has a compelling reason to not allow beards. Even though the compelling interest of Hobbs outweighs that of Holt I do not think that the meaning of the First Amendments freedom of religion in prisons should become a slippery slope as stated by Colton.

3/27/2014
Irving/Texas
Adam
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that the Supreme Court should grant Holt the right to grow a beard. He’s already having most of his rights being taken away from for being in jail. At least they could do is allow him to practice the Islamic faith according to their customs. If they think this will be a security issue, suppose they could check Holt even more carefully.

3/27/2014
Sidney MT
Megan
Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
This issue of this case is whether an inmate in prison has the right to have a beard, because of religious beliefs. The freedom to practice religion is protected by the first amendment, but not all rights are absolute. As stated in the article, by allowing prisoners to have a beard could mean giving them somewhere to hide weapons. I believe this is a very reasonable speculation, and Mr. Holt is in prison for violence charges. As said by Taylor, anyone could convert to these religions that would allow them to have a beard. That could possibly open the door to people taking advantage of the privlage, and crating a slippery slope. I don't believe Holt should win in this case because the concern by the government is reasonable and they need to protect the lives of the other people in the prisons.

3/27/2014
Sidney/MT
Taylor
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
The issue of this case is whether a convicted felon can grow a beard based on his religion via the First Amendment right to practice religion freely. Another part of that is whether or not there is a compelling reason as stated in the article. The state has a very compelling interest in this matter. As Michael has previously stated these beards could be used to harm the safety and the order within the prison. Another issue with the beards is that other convicted felons might claim to have converted to Islam just to use it to hide weapons to harm the guards or other inmates. How are we to judge who is religious and who is not? As a prisoner, your rights are limited and therefore not absolute. In this case I believe that Hobbs has a compelling reason to not allow beards. Even though the compelling interest of Hobbs outweighs that of Holt I do not think that the meaning of the First Amendments freedom of religion in prisons should become a slippery slope as stated by Colton.

3/26/2014
Sidney/MT
Colin
Faulhaber/Sidney High School
The issue at hand is whether the inmates should be allowed to grow beards in accordance with their religion and the First Amendment. I don't believe that convicted felons should be allowed to grow beards. A beard can hide many small objects that can be used to harm other inmates. Also the article states that "cellphone SIM cards to darts could be hidden in a half-inch beard." By allowing an inmate to grow a beard, someone else's safety could be in danger. I agree with Tori that such as students have their rights limited, that prisons can also limit freedoms. For safety reasons, I don't think that inmates should be allowed to grow beards.

3/26/2014
Sidney, MT
Lexie B
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
The issue in this article is whether or not inmates should have the right to grow beards on religious grounds. This right is protected by the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment. Holt believes he really does have a right, I believe he does not. As Cruz stated, not all rights are absolute. He committed a crime and should have known that his rights would be infringed on when he walked into the prison. Holt's argument using the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act should not be used in this case. The state does have a compelling interest and that interest is safety. As the article said, the inmate would be able to easily hide contraband, brought in from visitors, in their beards. This puts the safety of guards and other inmates at risk. Also, if the inmate was to escape, it would easy to shave, change the appearance and give more time to get away from authorities. I think the court should rule in favor of Hobbs. The safety of others outweighs the rights of Holt, which were indeed limited when he stepped into the prison.

3/26/2014
Sidney/Montana
Taylor
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
The issue of this case is whether or not convicted felons can grow a beard based on their First Amendment right to practice free religion. As this article has stated prisons cannot impose burdens that keep inmates from practicing their religion unless there is a compelling reason. In this case however there is a compelling reason for the state to keep inmates from hiding things such as weapons. As Michael had stated earlier "the interests of the state is more compelling than that of Mr. Holt." These laws are needed to keep safety and order in the prisons. If we allow prisoners to grow beards on the basis of religion what is going to stop others from saying that they have also converted to Islam just to use the beard to hide weapons. If we allow them to grow beards this could cause many problems in the prison.

3/26/2014
Sidney MT
Erin
Mr. Faulhaber
The issue at hand is whether an inmates First amendment right with the free exercise clause is violated because one is not able to grow a beard. The Arkansas prison system does not allow beard for many reasons, one being they can be used to hide contraband. and could lessen the safety of the people of the prison. As Berenizes said in an earlier post, it is a danger to both Holt and those around him. Although Muslim males are not to shave their beards, as stated in the article, I think there are other ways to practice the Muslim religion that are still available to Holt. If Holt is able to grow a beard, other inmates would be able to also and the security of the prison would be a stake. I think that Ruling in favor of Holt would put a substantial burden on the prison system and create an unsafe environment.

3/26/2014
Sidney, Montana
Colton
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
The issue involved in this case is whether or not convicted felons can grow a beard based upon religious grounds in prison. I believe the Supreme Court should rule in favor of Hobbs. As stated earlier by John of Montana this is an issue of life or death, prisoners can use beards to hide weapons that can be used to kill people. Also as the article stated "everything from cellphone SIM cards to darts could be hidden in a half-inch beards.' ."I believe that in the case of life or religious freedom the law should, in most cases, side with life. Though I believe the 1st Amendment "exercise clause" should not be thrown out in prison in general, I just believe that safety and life are more important protections in prison. However I do not want a ruling against beards, in prison, on religious grounds to be a slippery slope slowly banning all practice of religion, in prison, for security reasons.

3/26/2014
Sidney, MT
Dominique
Mr. Faulhaber
The issue of the court case Holt vs Hobbs is whether or not inmates in prisons should be able to wear a beard longer than 1/2". I think the Supreme Court should rule in favor of Hobbs. Petitioner Holt requests the ability to grow a beard based upon the grounds of religion. Holt is a convicted felon that is serving in prison. The issue is Holts First Ammendment's freedom of religion. Where out in the free world he could grow a beard or do religious based tasks. But in prison I believe you lose many rights that you would have otherwise while out free. I believe that Holt and other inmates should not be able to wear a beard, for many reasons. The first of which is a definite security threat, because inmates can hide any sort of contraband in them. The next reason is because if the inmate escapes he can shave off the facial hair and basically disappear, and evade the authorities for even longer. In the article it mentions the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 1993. This Act forbids prisons from imposing burdens that keep inmates from practicing their religion unless there is a compelling government reason. This issue is definitely a compelling interest on the grounds of security to other inmates, prison staff, and outside people. I agree with Berenizes from Irving, TX with how they said Holt committed an illegal act against the government and has to serve in prison. Berenizes also said that Holt should not be able to have a beard on the grounds of security. The Supreme Court should rule in favor of Hobbs.

3/26/2014
Sidney,MT
Juan Aguilar
Sidney High School
The issue presented in the article is whether or not inmates can have a beard based off the Free Exercise clause in the First Amendment. Holt, as stated in the article, believes he should be allowed to grow a beard because of his religion. I believe he should not be allowed to grow a beard though because not all rights are absolute and when you break the law certain rights can be infringed. Also, as Mr. Faulhaber has said, the interest of the state is more compelling then Holt's because they need to insure safety and order within the prison. I believe the Supreme Court should rule in favor of Hobbs because not all rights are absolute and the states interest in keeping the prison safe and orderly outweighs Holt's interest in growing a beard because of his religion.

3/26/2014
Sidney, MT
Michael
Mr. Faulhaber
The issue presented, that of which concerns the ability for inmates within the prison system should be allowed to grow a beard based upon religious grounds, is that of a First Amendment problem. Holt, also known as Abdul Maalik Muhammad, wishes to grow a beard based on his religion (Muslim). In accordance to the First Amendment's freedom of religion clause, Mr. Muhammad has the right to practice his religion. The Muslim religion specifies that men should not shave their faces. The culture backs that up. If one is to look at a nation where the religion is big, one will see that tribal leaders have beards. Many people would claim that he should not grow a beard because he has been put into jail. Berenizes from Bradley/Nimitz High School had said, "When someone goes to jail, it’s because they have committed an act against the rule of the government." I would have agreed with that, except that it's not the rule of government, but the rule of LAW. And the constitution of the United States of America says that (Amendment I) "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." One could propose an argument saying that Mr. Muhammad has the right to grow a beard because it infringes the First Amendment, but one could propose a counter-argument that says he does not because the First Amendment doesn't say that inmates are given that right. As far an most United States citizens are concerned, inmates broke the law and have no freedoms. Not to mention that the government must have compelling evidence that shows that Mr. Muhammad's First Amendment rights were not violated, while at the same time must weigh the rights of the people and the interests of the states. In this matter, the interests of the state is more compelling that that of Mr. Muhammad, safety and order within the prison. I agree with Hobbs.

3/26/2014
Sidney/MT
Ariana
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I believe that the supreme Court should rule in favor of Hobbs. The issue is whether or not a Muslim man may grow a beard in accordance with the practices of his religion while in prison. Holt may have religious rights but these can be extremely curbed while in prison, and so his First Amendment rights are not being violated. The 1993 Law Holt used as an argument cannot counter how compelling of a reason it is for beards to be kept short in prison. Prison officials specifically mentioned anything from cellphone SIM cards to darts could be hidden a half-inch beard. Security in this case for both prison guards and inmates out weighs the need for religious practice. As Tori said, students have their freedom of speech and religion limited in school, and so too can these be limited in prison.

3/25/2014
Sidney/MT
Lexi
Mr. Faulhaber/SHS
The issue of this article is whether the Arkansas corrections center if this is violating the practice of the free exercise ckause of the first amendment. I think becausr of safety reasons besrds should not be allowed. Holt still can exercise his muslim beliefs by praying. If one person was allowed to grow a beard then numerous people would as well. I also disagree with the article saying that the supreme court shoukd decide this case. The states should decide and not the supreme court. I also agree with Kayla from Nimitz high school. She belives the supreme court should rule against Holt as well. I disagree with the way she says they have consequences. People can still pray even though they were convicted of a crime. All of our rights are not absolute and this is no exception.

3/25/2014
Sidney/MT
Rietta
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
The issue before us is that whether or not prisoners should be allowed to have beards on religious based grounds. If you committed a crime and are in jail for it, your rights should definitely be limited. As the article stated, Holt is serving a life sentence for a domestic violence crime that he committed. His rights should be limited just for the fact that he is in prison and is not free. I agree that if the prisons did start to allow prisoners to grow beards that it could pose a threat to everyone's safety as stated in the article. The article makes a good point, if they did let prisoners grow a beard who knows what they could hide in it. Also, if they managed to escape and they had a beard they could just shave it and they could drastically change their appearance in a heart beat. Also, I think that hygiene would probably be an issue as well, due to the fact that they are not always the cleanest. Tori makes a good point about prisoners that are Catholic. Do they get to be served fish instead of meat during Lent? I think probably not, unless you were in a really religious prison. If Holt was so religious why did he commit a domestic violence crime in the first place? I feel that the Supreme Court should rule in favor of Hobbs. The no-beard policy may violate the prisoner's First Amendment right to practice his religion freely, but I feel that this case would be just like students practicing religion at school, there are regulations put in place to lessen your rights, and I feel it should apply to this as well. If you don't like it than you shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place.

3/25/2014
Sidney/Montaana
Reanna
Mr. Faulhaver/Sidney High School
In this article, the issue discussed is whether or not a prison's rules regarding inmates personal hygiene that bans them from having a beard longer violates their 1st amendment rights if a beard, or not shaving, is a part of their religion. I completely agree with Tresha as she noted that the inmate Gregory Holt is not taking into account the fact that he committed a crime. Because of his actions, he put himself in a place where not all of his rights are going to be absolute. The prison in Arkansas has a compelling safety reason, as mentioned in the article, that beards are not allowed for many reasons because they could be used to hide contraband as well as easily change their appearance if they were to escape. While it is still required to give prisoners their constitutional rights, no institution should have to put the safety of others at risk because of this individual's personal need for a beard. If Holt was given the right to grow a beard, I think it would be pointless. Holt says explains that his religious belief is "Muslim Males are not to shave their beard." Although he is seeking half-inch beard, eventually he would have to shave, or cut his beard due to the regulations of the prisons. Wouldn't that be in contradiction with his beliefs? Sounds suspicious to me.

3/25/2014
Sidney/MT
John Elmore
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
The issue at hand is whether or not a prisoner should be able to grow a beard in compliance to his religious rights at the cost of the security in a prison. I think the Supreme court should side with Hobbs in this case. As cited in the article, "Everything from a cellphone SIM card to a dart could be held in a half inch beard." This brings up a valid point, should the courts sacrifice a right for the issue of security? A previous blog has stated that because Holt threatened someone's right to live, he should also be stripped of his right to a full freedom of religion. Although I do not fully agree with the previous argument, I do believe that as an issue of life or death, Holt should have to keep a cleanly shaved face. Throughout our countries history certain rights have been stripped for the purpose of security, this instance should be no different. If this man, Gregory Holt, has the ability to hide a weapon in his beard, then a life could be at stake, and a life should be valued higher than a right to grow a beard.

3/25/2014
Sidney/MT
Tori
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
The issue presented here is whether Gregory Holt a.k.a Abdul Maalik Muhammed, and prisoners in general, should be allowed to have beards based on religious grounds. As the article said, Holt is serving a life sentence for domestic violence in the Arkansas state prison system. While the no-beard policy may violate a prisoner's First Amendment right to practice his religion freely, a person's rights are greatly reduced while in prison. I can see how beards pose a security risk and hygiene risk, as the article noted that long beards can be used to hide contraband and if an inmate escapes he could evade the law by shaving his beard. While the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act forbids prisons from imposing burdens that keep inmates from practicing their religion, there is a compelling reason in this case. I wonder if prisoners who are Catholic and are not allowed to eat meat during Lent are served fish on those days... I disagree with Bradley from Irving, Texas, because there is no right for a man to practice his religion regardless of his circumstances. If your religion was to give daily sacrifices to the flying spaghetti monster, well the law kind of disagrees with that. Also, students freedom of speech and freedom of religion rights are lessened during school. The Supreme Court should rule in favor of Hobbs.

3/25/2014
Sidney/MT
Nicole Moore
Fauhlaber/Sidney High School
The issue at hand is whether prisoners should be able to fully practice their religion by growing beards, and whether that religious practice is a safety risk. I don't believe that peope should be able to grow beards because it is a safety issue. It would be hard to regulate the length and the question of whether or not it's a religious practice or a personal preference. As the article noted, people can hide things in their beards and it becomes a safety issue. While people have the right to practice religion but all rights are not absolute which was previously noted below by Janet. I also feel this could be a slippery slope on what other religions try to practice. Would this lead to people trying to burn peyote in prison, or say drinking wine for communion? I believe he should not be allowed to grow a beard because it would lead to a loss of control by prison guards and would cause other problems when trying to regulate other prisoners' actions.

3/25/2014
Sidney, MT
Tresha
Mr. Faulhaber
The issue in this article is if a prisons no-beard policy conflicts with the first Amendment to the US Constitution. One thing I think this man is forgetting is that he committed a crime. Once you decide to break the law you shouldn't expect to have the same rights as before. He made the decision to commit domestic violence. In doing so he needs to realize that prison takes rights away. I completely agree with Ty'Mira and Berenizes. Don't commit a crime, don't get rights taken away.

3/24/2014
Irving/Texas
Ty'Mira
Bradley/Nimitz
The Supreme Court should not rule in favor of Holt because he was obviously arrested for domestic violence. The no-beard policy does violate Holt's rights to practice religion, but he also violated someones life so what is the point? Beards do pose a hygiene risk because of things like lice.

3/24/2014
Irving/Texas
Berenizes
Bradley/Nimitz
When someone goes to jail, it’s because they have committed an act against the rule of the government. Because of this I do not believe prisoners should be allowed to have beards based on religious grounds. It’s a danger to both Mr. Holt and those around him. Who knows what kind of small weapon he can hide in his beard. Plus, Mr. Holt’s background is a violent one with counts of aggravated robbery and battery which makes him highly likely to hide a weapon. In agreement with Cornell Law School, prisoners have limited rights and in this case Mr. Holt should be limited also.

3/24/2014
Irving/ TX
Kayla
Helen Bradley/ Nimitz High School
The Supreme Court should rule against Holt. I do believe that all inmates should be treated in a humane manner but I also believe that once you go to prison there are some rights you lose. You committed a crime and you are there for a reason. You have to deal with the consequences of your actions and in this case it means losing one of your rights. Giving him the right to have a beard would also give other inmates an excuse to grow their beards as well saying it is for religious reasons when it is not. Yes, the no-beard policy violates the First Amendment but it also puts others at risk. It is for the best to leave the no-beard policy as it is.

3/23/2014
Irving/TX
Sarah L
Bradley/Nimitz High School
I do not believe prisoners should have beards - even if it is based on religious grounds. Obviously a prisoner is a prisoner for a reason: they violated the rights and regulations of the United States. Prisoners are only guaranteed certain rights, such as the Tenth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment, as said in this Prisoner’s Rights article on Cornell University Law School (http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/prisoners_rights). So, preventing the prisoner from growing a beard, for safety and hygiene concerns, is not a violation of his rights due to the fact he does not have the privilege anymore. The safety concerns for a beard are very understandable and just: I have attached a picture of a man who has half his face shaven, just to visualize how drastic a difference a small shave can change a man’s appearance (http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/03/03/article-0-1202FFBF000005DC-319_634x548.jpg). In my opinion, security is more important, especially when it comes to prisoners who have a history with violence (i.e. Mr. Holt). The Supreme Court should not rule in favor of Holt.

3/21/2014
Irving/TX
Janet
Bradley/Nimitz
In this case, Holt v. Jobbs, the Supreme Court should support Hobbs because I feel like prisoners should lose most of their rights as soon as they enter prison. Even though they are humans, the crimes they commit come with certain consequences, and if not being able to grow out a beard for religious purposes is a consequence then that person just has to live with it. Not only is it a consequence, allowing prisoners to have beards can be dangerous because they can hide unimaginable things there. The bigger the beard, the more things can be hidden inside it. One may argue that it isn't fair to not allow a man that has to grow a beard for religious purposes, but when you think about it, any or even every man that is in prison can use that as an excuse just to have a beard too. In conclusion, the Supreme court should rule in favor of Hobbs because there is a reason why the Institutionalized Persons Act, a 1993 forbids prisoners from growing beards, and that reason is to protect the institution from harmful things bring brought there.

3/21/2014
Irving/Texas
Kelsea
Bradley/Nimitz HS
In the Holt v. Hobbs case, the Supreme court should rule in favor of Gregory Holt. The ties with which the Islamic faith has to facial hair is significant within the religion and the Arkansas prison system is clearly violating the principles of the Constitution. It is a man’s right to practice his religion regardless of his circumstances. The length at which Holt is arguing for, a half-inch beard, would not cause a threat and the argument that he could change his appearance drastically if he were to escape by shaving it off is unnecessary. How often does one escape from prison,and how far do they get before search teams can concoct a sketch of what he could look like currently in order to make him more recognizable to the people? The odds are slim, and a man that wants to grow a beard in the name of religion should be given the right to do so without discussion. The restrictions placed upon Holt violate his First Amendment absolutely and this, I believe, calls for immediate action (otherwise the founding fathers’ efforts to give the people rights and liberties would have been in vain). Holt has a constitutional right to grow a beard to the minimum of half an inch, but he should be aware that if he were to be deceiving in his requests and reasons that the chance for anyone else to religiously grow a beard lies on his shoulders.

3/21/2014
Irving/TX
Carmen Martinez
Bradley/Nimitz High School
I believe that prisoners should not be allowed to have beards no matter the length. The supreme court should deny Holts request, I don't think that the no beard violates the prisoners first amendment, because they're just trying to keep this environment as safe as they can. If they were to allow the prisoners to grow out their beards then they would dangerously be risking not only the guards safety but the other inmates as well, as stated a numerous amount of small objects could be hidden in beards. I feel as if the government should strictly base things on security, not that the prisoners should be deprived of their rights, but they are dangerous and could find a way to strike again if given this right. Therefore I do believe that the prisons should simply keep the same rule, just to be on the safe side.

3/21/2014
Irving/TX
Vanessa Garcia
Bradley/Nimitz
Prisoners should not be allowed to grow beards, as stated before the most unthinkable objects can be hidden in a beard we shouldn't give them the opportunity. If they let one prisoner do it then they have to give the same right to everyone else. Though some might have good intentions others may not, which is why we shouldn't give the right out. When commuting a crime they know they lose certain rights, as for this man serving life in prison. The Supreme Court should rule against this man and keep the rules the way they are.

3/21/2014
Irving/TX
Vivian
Bradley/Nimitz
The Supreme Court should rule in favor of Holt in this case. If Hobbs were to win this case that would just mean that the rest of the prisoners would have the privilege to grow a beard as well. Prison officials have seen the most unthinkable items that can be hidden in beards. So why give them that stealthy opportunity? The no-beard policy does not violate the First Amendment nor does it violate his religious rights. If prisoners were to petition how they aren't given all the rights in the First Amendment in prison there would be files-full of them. Prisoners just like Hobb have broken a law which allows the prison system to take away certain rights for committing a crime. If you think about it that would just "convert" more prisoners to Islam just so they would have an excuse to wear a beard.

3/20/2014
Irving/Texas
Erin D
Bradley/Nimitz
In the court case Holt v. Hobbs, the Supreme court should rule in favor of Hobbs. This is because of the security of the other inmates would be compromised. Which is exactly why the no-beard policy is in place already. Even with the proposed half-inch beard, there is still a vast amount of contraband can sneak past security, this could be something as simple as a dart or even a needle, but still can be used in certain ways that can be harmful to the well being of the other inmates. This isn’t a question of violating his First Amendment rights, because he broke the laws, thus, his rights changed once entering that institution. Another important thing to take into consideration is his record, Holt is in prison for his domestic violence--granting him a beard that can hide items that can cause harm to others enables him to reap violence within the prison walls.

3/19/2014
Irving/TX
Sarah V
Bradley/Nimitz
The Supreme Court should decide their verdict in the Holt vs Hobbs case in favor of Holt, but only if more people who practice Islam also agree with Holt's stance on the matter. If there are other Muslims imprisoned who feel that they can practice their religion without having to grow their beards, then Holt's case should be dismissed as an isolated request. The no-beard policy does not intentionally violate the prisoner's First Amendment right to practice his religion freely because the policy was put in place for the safety of people in the prison, given the risk of some prisoners hiding forbidden items in their beards. Also, because the people who are in prison have violated the law, their rights should be limited for their own correctional benefit and for the safety of the people in charge of them.

3/19/2014
Irving/Texas
Kimberly
Bradley/Nimitz
In order to be able to answer the question at hand we must first investigate a few details about Mr. Holt, and the rights of prisoners. Mr. Holt has been priorly imprisoned for first degree terroristic threat and filing a false report in 2003, and is currently being held for habitual aggravated residential burglary and habitual first degree domestic battering. His history is a violent one and should be considered in the court case. One of the reasons that a prisoner is not allowed facial hair is due to the fact that they might hide a small weapon in it. With Holt’s violent past he is a likely candidate for trying to smuggle in a weapon. The other item that should be considered is the fact that prisoners have broken the bond between themselves and the United States causing most of their rights to be null and void. According to Cornell Law school, “Prisoner’s have limited rights to religion and speech.” This limited right can be interpreted by saying that a prisoner has the right to practice his beliefs but not in full communion with his faith.

3/17/2014
Irving/Tx
Ruth
Bradley/Nimitz
The Supreme Court should rule in favor of Gregory Holt. The no-beard policy violates the prisoners first amendment law to practice religion freely,after all it is clearly stated in the first amendment that one has freedom of religion,therefore he should be allowed to practice his religious beliefs despite his current location. Yes beards might pose a security threat,but a simple revision before and after every visit can be a simple solution,it might not be convenient but it is a way to protect the inmates constitutional rights. Everyone should be entitled to express their religious practices .

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