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U.S. justices say inmate can keep beard while contesting policy

News microphones wait to capture reactions from U.S. Supreme Court rulings outside the court building in Washington, June 25, 2013. REUTERS/
News microphones wait to capture reactions from U.S. Supreme Court rulings outside the court building in Washington, June 25, 2013. REUTERS/

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Thursday said an Arkansas prison inmate should be allowed to maintain a beard while he contests the prison's grooming policy.

In an unusual order, the court said that Gregory Holt, 38, should be allowed to grow a beard of up to one-half of an inch in length in accordance with his Muslim beliefs.

The court was responding to a handwritten request filed by Holt, who recounted his lengthy and unsuccessful attempt to fight the grooming policy.

Holt is serving a life sentence for burglary and domestic battery at the Varner Supermax prison, according to the Arkansas Department of Correction's website.

The Supreme Court's order said Holt could keep his beard while he files a petition with the court seeking review of a June appeals court decision that went against him.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller and Ken Wills)

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