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Nydocs Grooming Policy 2005

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STATE OF NEW YORK

No.

TITLE

4914

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES

DIRECTIVE

Inmate Grooming Standards
DISTRIBUTION

SUPERSEDES

Dir. #4914 dtd. 07/05/94

A

B

PAGE 1 OF 3

DATE

PAGES
LAST UPDATED

REFERENCES (includes but are not limited to):

02/05/2001
04/25/2005

APPROVING AUTHORITY

I.

DESCRIPTION. This directive establishes the basic grooming standards (including criteria for beards,
mustaches, and length of hair) for inmates.

II.

PURPOSE. It is the purpose of this directive to ensure that inmate appearance will be regulated sufficiently to maintain accurate identification of each individual.

III.

REGULATIONS
A.

Grooming Standards at Reception. Initial shaves and haircuts shall be required of all newly committed male inmates (unless exempted as set forth below). These are required for reasons of health
and sanitation as well as to permit the taking of the initial identification photograph.
1.

Shaves. Inmates who have beards upon reception shall be permitted the option to use an electric razor, hand razor, hand clippers, or a depilatory to remove their beards.
Exemption: The initial shave regulation applies to all inmates including Rastafarians unless the
inmate possesses a court order restraining the Department from such enforcement.
NOTE: Inmates who are exempted from the shave regulation because they possess a court order as described above, shall be placed in the extended classification unit at the Downstate
Reception Center or in administrative segregation at all other facilities. The Department's
Counsel's Office shall be notified of all such inmates.

2.

Haircuts. Hair length upon completion of this initial haircut shall not exceed one (1) inch on
any part of the head.
Exemptions: Any reception inmate who professes to be a Rastafarian, Taoist, Sikh, Native
American, Orthodox Jew, or member of any other religious sect of a similar nature and refuses
to have an initial haircut cannot be forced to comply with the initial haircut requirements. In
addition, any reception inmate who refuses to comply with the initial haircut regulation on religious grounds and who has a court order restraining the Department from enforcing the initial
haircut regulation cannot be forced or ordered to comply with the initial haircut regulation.
NOTE: Any inmate covered by the above exceptions shall be classified and transferred in the
standard manner and cannot be disciplined or placed in administrative segregation for their refusal on religious grounds to have an initial haircut.
Any reception inmate who refuses to comply with the initial haircut regulation on religious
grounds and does not profess to be a Rastafarian, Taoist, Sihk, American Indian, Orthodox
Jew, or member or any other religious sect of a similar nature, or does not have a court order
shall be ordered to comply with the initial haircut regulation. If they refuse, their hair shall not
be cut, but they shall be placed in the extended classification unit at the Downstate reception
center or administrative segregation at all other facilities.
Identification photographs of any inmate who has not had their hair cut shall be taken in accord with the following:
-For the frontal view, the hair shall be pulled back away from the face and ears.
-For the side view (profile), the hair shall be pulled back and to the side.

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________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
NO. 4914
Inmate Grooming Standards
DATE

B.

02/05/2001

PAGE

2

OF

General Grooming Standards. After the initial haircut and shave, general grooming standards as set
forth below are applicable to all inmates except those inmates participating in the Department's
Shock Incarceration Program.
1.

Beards and Mustaches. An inmate may grow a beard and/or mustache, but beard/mustache
hair may not exceed one (1) inch in length unless
a.

the inmate has a court order restraining the Department from enforcement; or

b.

the inmate has requested and received an exemption based upon his or her documented
membership in a religion which has an established tenet against the trimming of beards including but not limited to inmates who are Rastafarian, Orthodox Jew or Muslim. All inmate requests for such exemption shall be referred to and reviewed by Counsel's Office
after consultation with the facility chaplain. After such review, Counsel's Office will make
a recommendation to the Deputy Commissioner for Correctional Facilities. If the request
is approved by the Deputy Commissioner for Correctional Facilities, a permit will be issued
to the inmate.

Further, pending Counsel's Office's determination of requests for exemption from the one (1)
inch rule, inmates shall not be required to cut or trim their beards, or disciplined for refusing
the order to shave or subject to repeat orders to shave.
An inmate who refuses to comply with this rule will be given 14 days from the date of the
written order to shave in which to request an exemption. If the inmate fails to submit a request for an exemption within 14 days, he may be disciplined for refusal to obey such order.
Copies of the written order, an inmate's request for exemption and the exemption will be filed
in the inmate's legal file.
2.

Hair.
a.

Only basic haircuts will be allowed. Only one straight part will be allowed with no other
lines, designs or symbols cut into the hair. In accordance with established barbering
guidelines of the Department's Occupational Training Program, basic haircuts are defined
as:
short, medium, and long
short, medium, and long pompadour
crew
flat top

butch
quo vadis (bald)
Afro-natural, and
elevation

Hair may be permitted to grow over the ears to any length desired by the inmate. The hair
must be neatly groomed and kept clean at all times.
The only braids allowed are the corn row style. Corn row braids may only be woven close to
the scalp in straight rows from the forehead to the back of the neck. No designs or symbols
may be woven into the hair and the corn row braids may not extend below the hairline.
b.

Long hair is defined as below shoulder length.

c.

Inmates wearing long hair assigned to work near machinery or food shall be required to
wear a hair net. Any other inmate assigned to work near food shall be required to wear
either a hat or a hair net.

d.

All inmates wearing long hair will be required to have the hair tied back in a ponytail at all
times with a barrette, rubber band or other fastening device approved by the
Superintendent.

Exception: Native Americans involved in scheduled and approved Native American cultural
ceremonies do not have to comply with this restriction.
e.

An inmate may be subjected to a hair search when there is reason to believe that contraband may be discovered by such a search. An inmate may be subjected to such search at
any time that a pat frisk, strip search, or strip frisk is being conducted. Consistent with

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________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
NO. 4914
Inmate Grooming Standards
DATE

02/05/2001

PAGE

3

OF

Directive #4910, during a pat frisk, an inmate will be required to run fingers through hair.
During a strip search, an inmate may be subjected to an inspection of his or her hair. During a strip frisk, an inmate will run his or her hands through the hair.
C.

Photographs. If, in the opinion of a Correction Officer or supervisor, an inmate drastically changes
his appearance by changing the length, style and/or color of his hair, or growing or shaving a beard
and/or mustache, he will be rephotographed for identification purposes. All such rephotographs will
be at the expense of the inmate.

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