Alston & Bird Assists ACLU in Protecting Religious Freedom in California Prisons
June 9, 2011
Alston & Bird attorneys working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) scored a major pro bono victory this month when the California Department of Corrections agreed to amend its grooming regulations to allow inmates to maintain beards in accordance with their faith. The change is a direct result of a lawsuit made on behalf of a California inmate of the Sikh religion who had been disciplined repeatedly for refusing to trim his beard on religious grounds.
"Alston & Bird was pleased to assist the ACLU in this important case to protect religious freedom in the California prison system,” said Jon Gordon, a partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office who supervised the firm's participation in the case. “This settlement, approved by the court, will protect not just the right of one individual to practice his faith while in prison, but the rights of those who follow. Our capable team of Cassandra Hooks and Leib Lerner assisted the ACLU in all phases of this matter, from the drafting of the complaint and a critical preliminary injunction motion to the negotiation of the settlement with the office of the California Attorney General. By partnering on a pro bono basis with organizations like the ACLU, Alston & Bird is able to help them leverage our own resources to support worthy causes like this case."