Orthodox prisoner barred from beard behind bars

By Jennifer Lipman, July 20, 2011

A bearded Orthodox Jewish convict has lost a second legal challenge to New Hampshire State Prison's grooming policy.

Albert Kuperman, serving a seven-year sentence for sexually molesting a minor, was banned from growing his beard longer than a quarter of an inch. He claimed the prohibition violated his First Amendment right to religious freedom, but lost a case in a federal court last August.

He then took the case to a federal appeals court, but the beard ban was upheld.

The prison rules state that inmates should be clean shaven, but allows beards for religious and medical reasons. However the rules also require those with beards to keep them neatly trimmed for hygiene and security reasons.

It is another defeat for Mr Kuperman, who lost a bid to keep being served kosher meals while behind bars in 2009.

Last updated: 10:08am, July 20 2011