AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas inmates can now grow their beards to a half-inch in length following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that determined they have the right to grow facial hair for religious reasons.
The Dallas Morning News reports that prison officials previously banned facial hair, for security reasons, as a part of strict grooming standards for inmates.
A change in Texas Department of Criminal Justice rules took effect this month. The state joins more than 40 other states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons in allowing beards.
The new rule doesn't settle one case over prison beards in Texas. A Muslim inmate sued the state seeking permission to grow a 4-inch beard and to wear a brimless cap.
Prison officials contend the beard and cap pose security risks.