On August 20, 1987, several inmates of the Idaho State Correctional Facility, represented by a private attorney and the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, filed a consolidated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho. The ...
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On August 20, 1987, several inmates of the Idaho State Correctional Facility, represented by a private attorney and the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, filed a consolidated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho. The lawsuit challenged the Idaho Department of Corrections' "no beard" rule as violating plaintiffs' right to free exercise of religion under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief. While waiting for class certification, the parties settled.
On May 3, 1988 the parties agreed to a settlement that outlined state-wide guidelines by which inmates would be allowed to grow facial hair as prescribed by their religion. The fear of the State was that a prisoner would be able to alter his appearance from how he appeared on this identification card by growing facial hair. Accordingly, under the settlement, a prisoner had to declare his religion to the prison and he had to assert that it required the growing of a beard as a basic tenet of that religion. Specifically, the agreement noted that Sikhs, Muslims, and Orthodox Jews have prescriptions against shaving facial hair. For prisoners asserting other religious justifications, the Director of Corrections would determine within ten days if in fact the religion required growing a beard as a basic tenet. The inmate was then be put into a secured cell until his beard grew to the desired length (but no longer than 2.5 inches), at which time his identification photograph would be taken at the his own expense, and he would be reinstated to his previous housing placement. The inmate would then be required to keep the beard the same length and appearance as reflected in his I.D., or he would have to report his desire to change his appearance and/or religion to the prison. These privileges were afforded to all prisoners except those who had certain disciplinary problems at the prison. The settlement required that any non-compliance was to be reported first to the parties of the settlement before seeking court relief. The agreement stipulated that the Court was to retain jurisdiction over the action to enforce the Consent Decree for one year after the defendants notified the plaintiffs that it has been fully implemented. Thus, one year later, on July 30, 1990 the Court (Judge Harold L. Ryan) dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.
No further information is available on PACER. Rebecca Bloch - 02/27/2006